Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jamelia for Tony&Guy Model.Me

One good thing about being with the in-laws over the holidays in Central Massachusetts is that there is not much to except read magazines and eat cookies*. While perusing British ELLE, I came across this ad for Toni&Guy's Model.Me line of hair care products represented by top models Erin O'Conner, Helena Christensen and pop singer Jamelia. Each woman has a range of products catering to specific hair needs.

I don't know much about Jamelia aside from the fact that some people call her the British Beyonce and that her song "Superstar" was my jam for about two weeks several years ago. I have nothing against the woman but two things stick out here.

First, why isn't a actual model in Jamelia's place? And second, why are the only Black women we see in "mainstream" haircare ads usually sporting industrial weaves? Now, I know that a good weave requires a lot of care but seriously, what is up with this? It's like the companies are saying, "See! We haven't left you poor black women out of our campaign! You too can have healthy manageable hair, provided that you are wearing someone else's." It just seems silly to me.

I'm also bugged that everyone in the media seems to think that singers and rappers are always the go-to girls for ad campaigns and films when there are plenty of actual black models and actresses waiting in the wings. I admire any woman who can make a career in either of these industries without succumbing to bitterness or the allure of too much fried food.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to wish everyone a pleasant and peaceful holiday. Right now I am in the middle of nowhere in Massachusetts with next to no Internet access so I won't be updating until the New Year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

15 Years of M.A.C Viva Glam Spokesmodels

From left: RuPaul, Debbie Harry, Lisa Marie Presley, Shirley Manson, Pamela Anderson, Susan Rodriguez, Missy Elliot, Eve, Dita Von Teese, and Christina Aguilera.

I realize the maybe Mary J. Blige was too busy promoting her new CD to make the shoot but where is Lil' Kim? I know she wasn't busy.

1969 - Black Models Grace Fashion Magazine Covers for the 1st Time

(L to R)

Jane Hoffman - Cosmo - June, 1969
Daphne Maxwell - Glamour - October, 1969*
Elizabeth of Toro - Harper's Bazaar - November, 1969
Jolie Jones - Madamoiselle - March, 1969

It's funny how much things change and how much they stay the same. I wonder what kind of future I would have imagined had I been coming of age in the late 1960s.

* Katiti Kironde was technically the first black wman to appear on the cover in August, 1968 but she was a college student and not a model.

Harper's Bazaar - Donyale Luna

Harper's Bazaar was the first US fashion magazine to feature the image of a Black woman on its cover in January 1965. The woman Donyale Luna, who was described as having "the tall strength and pride movement of a Masai warrior."

When she came onto the scene in the mid 1960's she was Fashion writer Bill Cunningham wrote:

The white model dominated fashion world is confronted by the first ethereal African queen image. Her body moves like a panther, her arms, the wings of an exotic bird, the long neck suggests a black trumpet swan...It is the birth of a new fashion era.

Although filled with the usual "exotic other" stereotypes, at the time this was mighty high praise for the model to receive in mainstream press. She would go onto to become the first model of African descent to appear on the cover of British Vogue.

It's unfortunate that the "new era" that Luna ushered forth didn't produce a long lasting career for the model herself as she was unable to escape her own personal demons.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Glamour Magazine Chats w/ Bethann Hardison

In the 1960s, Bethann Hardison was the first black girl working the showroom in the garment district.

A chance encounter with designer Willie Smith launched her modeling career and a few short years later she became one of the pioneering Black models walking the runways of New York and Paris.

Her career in fashion didn't end when she stepped off the runway. Hardison founded Bethann Management in 1984 and was a charter member of The Black Girls Coalition, an organization determined to change the status quo in the fashion industry. In the article below, she talks briefly with Glamour Magazine about modeling agency biases.