It’s no secret that fashion has a complicated relationship with race. In February, The New York Times reported that of the 470 members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America only 12 are African-American.
The picture is not that different when it comes to casting models of color. Next America caught up with New York-born Tasha Moore, who has been in the industry for five years, to talk about her experiences with race and diversity in fashion. After being scouted on a subway platform by Debbie Dickinson, she started working in New York, but she now spends most of her time in Paris. She also started FEMME, a lifestyle brand inspired by the French idea of enjoying life to the fullest.
Next America: In 2014, French model Anais Mali said in an interview that when she was starting out her career in Paris, she was told that "Black models don’t work here.”
Tasha Moore: They said the same thing to me. Even about Milan, but I am still here. For all intents and purposes, they are absolutely right. I mean, it’s not just a conception that her agency probably has, but it’s true. Normally, the biggest markets for Black models are South Africa, New York, and London. And so that’s where they’ll send Black models to work. When we’re saying Black, we’re being very blunt, because that’s a skin color and not an ethnicity. So if you are a lighter Black color like caramel, and you are kind of ethnically ambiguous, you can still work because people are not sure what you are. You could be Latin, you could be Spanish, or maybe you have really pale skin and dark hair so you could look Middle Eastern, or Colombian, or Persian. So we’re talking about models whose skin could be considered brown to Black, they have the most trouble working.