Many of us can agree that loving a career or industry does not mean we love or even like everything about it. The Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion (Abrams Books, October 8, 2019) author, Marcellas Reynolds, is no exception. Reynolds, who recently appeared on the Tamron Hall Show, asserted that black models should not have to show up to work with their hair and makeup done in advance because stylists are untrained to do their job. We caught up with the former model and asked if he thinks there is a lack of diversity among hair and makeup staff. “I don’t want to bash fashion because fashion is wonderful,” the multi-hyphenate shares with So Booking Cool.
“It’s [fashion] one of the most accepting places in the world. But then when you start talking about it on a corporate level and you start talking about money, then you get into this, ‘well, we’re appealing to a white customer base, so we need to use more white models.’ That’s always been the excuse. Or there was always the excuse that black models on covers don’t sell magazines. But that’s ridiculous. Look at the first time that Beverly Johnson was on the cover of American Vogue. It became the highest selling Vogue to date.”
He also notes the success of Peggy Dillard, the second black woman to cover the veteran publication.
Johnson and Dillard are two of the 75 models honored in Models. Jamaican model Jeneil Williams stuns on the cover. The book, which also contains hundreds of captivating images, is a tribute to black models, past and present and features interviews that Reynolds conducted himself with models. It is also a tribute to 10-year-old Reynolds, whose childhood had dark times.
Check out part one of the interview to learn more about Reynolds including some of the repercussions of being “the only one” in the room and not always speaking up; how he deals with both micro and macro aggression; the story behind his name; how his mother and grandmother inspired his love of fashion and beyond; and more! For more information, visit his official website. Check out Part 2 and Part 3!
Left photo credit: Josh Kaplan