During an episode of E!’s “Model Squad,” on Sept. 6, Australian model Shanina Shaik opened up about the discrimination she faced in the infamously Eurocentric modeling industry.
Shaik, who is half Pakistani and Arabic, revealed her darker skin made her a target for bullies and limited her job prospects.
Shaik said the situation was similarly brutal for black models, who were often sent home because designers didn’t want to style women of their color. Evidently inspired by the discussion, her white co-star Devon Windsor chimed in.
“I literally f—ing went through hell,” she began, “and literally lived in different countries like every other month, and didn’t speak that language. I didn’t speak Paris, didn’t speak Italian. And I did that for like, two years.”
The statement did not go over well with the other women at the table, especially Chinese-born co-star Ping Hue.
Hue told Windsor she was not sure she would ever fully understand the problems associated with being different, but Windsor would not be deterred.
“You know how hard it is to be blonde?” she fired back, “I have to get a highlight every month! Do you know how expensive that is?”
What a cruel world we live in, where some people are merely kicked out of fashion shows for being the “wrong color” while the rest of us are forcibly separated from our hair stylists and robbed of our monthly touch-up appointments.
No one could even possibly imagine the irreversible damage done when so many of us get signed to a multi-million dollar franchise and receive thousands to take pictures in its merchandise. Oh, the horror of it all.
Rather than grant her peers the time and space to voice their opinions on such a sensitive topic, the Missouri native made the discussion into her own pity party.
She would, of course, apologize, but only after the internet dragged her to the hills and back by her blonde locks.
Twitter and Instagram users arrived in droves almost immediately after the episode aired, calling her “self-centered” and an “attention w—-e” Some even asked for Victoria’s Secret, which Windsor has worked for since 2014, to cut ties with her immediately. They have yet to issue a statement.
Throughout history, characteristics that are prevalent amongst minorities wind up being ripped from their arms one way or another and shared with the masses. This is not to say we have monopolized oppression, but watching Windsor fight to paint herself as a victim of persecution was like watching someone fight for the right to be harassed.
It’s just plain stupid. To add fuel to the fire, co-star Olivia Culpo flew in like Captain America to shield her. She defended Windsor and claimed her friend’s words were deliberately taken out of context in an effort to “stir up drama.” In other words, it was everyone else’s fault Windsor said what she said. Of course.
Between her and fallen YouTube titan Laura Lee, who was exposed as a culturally insensitive bigot via her own tweets, I’m not sure whom I should play the world’s tiniest violin for.
Email Kia Marie Scott at email@example.com