After being told only white women are preferred, model takes ending discrimination in her stride


As a young black woman modelling in Hong Kong, Harmony "Anne-Marie" Ilunga rarely saw anyone who looked like her in the magazines. Now the 22-year-old is trying to change that, one model at a time.

She moved to Hong Kong from the DRC as a child refugee. Harmony rarely saw anyone who looked like her in magazines or on posters.

"I walked in this agency, they told me 'we prefer white models than black models' and I just remember walking into that room - I think I was 16 if I'm not wrong. I remember just being shattered, I think [at] 17 I was just like, it just broke my heart," she says.

READ MORE: Eastern Cape born Esihle Mhluzi is creating access for physically impaired models and students

Harmony opened her own modelling agency in 2018 and she champions models of all skin tones and sizes.

"Even to my local friends here, they don't see themselves as beautiful. Even if I fight for Harmony HK it's not only for black models or models of colour but it's for people that don't feel confident in themselves.

"Because you look at the magazines, they have set these beauty standards and not everybody is like that. It's just about fighting what the society has created, you don't have to fit into that," she adds.   

Compiled by Phelokazi Mbude

Follow us on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24