Liberian model Deddeh Howard has something to say about the lack of racial diversity in the modeling industry. The 27-year-old medical student and model lives in Los Angeles and knows first hand about the many closed doors that women of color have to contend with to make it in the industry. She decided to take matters into her own hands to show that black models are just as capable of delivering the same stunning shots in billboards, commercials and advertising campaigns that are dominated by their white counterparts.
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“I would walk into various fashion model agencies and I would immediately be compared to that one or two black model that they had on the roster. Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and wish they could represent me, they already have a black model,” said Howard. Channeling her frustrations into art, Howard teamed up with her photographer boyfriend, Raffael Dickreuter, to recreate many of the world’s top advertising campaigns for a project entitled “Black Mirror.”
The result are stunning side-by-side copycat shots featuring Howard in place of some of the biggest names in modeling. From Gisele Bündchen to Linda Evangelista to Kendall Jenner, Howard nails her imitation every single time. It’s hard not to look at the images and note at how impressive her skills are, but the message behind the project is much bigger than how she works the camera.
“The visibility on these commercials and billboards matter as much as having elected a first black President,” says Howard. “The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too. For that reason, diversity in ad campaigns is in my opinion much more important than you might think.”
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