A lack of representation in prominent fashion advertisements prompted Liberian-born model and medicine student Deddeh Howard to take matters into her own hands, recreating some of fashion’s most iconic advertisements in a photo series titled ‘Black Mirror’. Her decision came about following Jasmine Tookes’ modelling the coveted “fantasy bra” at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show this year, marking only the third time in the show’s 21-years that a woman of color was chosen to make the brand’s ultimate fashion statement.
In Black Mirror she replaces the likes of Michelle Williams for Louis Vuitton, Kendall Jenner for Calvin Klein and Candice Swanepoel for Victoria’s Secret. On her website, she explains the bizzare incident where fashion model agencies would have one black model and numerous white model but not keen to have her, as a black model, represent their brand. “Not too long ago it happened to me that 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. Besides having an abundance of white models. It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all. When you are told that, trust me, it feels bizarre.”
She further explains that she used the images to present her race in a more positive light than what is typically put forth by the media. “In a time where black people too often are in the media for being underrepresented at important events such as the Oscars, or make headlines for being targeted by the police, I felt it was time to do something positive and inspiring about my race,” she said.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Deddeh said that the project took about three months from concept to completion, and aims “to show the world what diversity is capable of.” Deddeh said that while researching for the shoot, she and photographer Raffael Dickreuter were shocked to realize how many brands “truly never or almost never use black models.”
Check out the images below