Sunday, 31 January 2016

Pillow Talk

Casting models for a fashion show sounds like fun right?

Sitting at a desk staring at beautiful people all day long with the theme of 'changing climates' in mind, making light conversation to get a sense of personality, contrasting characters, looks and attires in the hopes of orchestrating moments of fantasy on a whirlwind night of excitement and passion. That is the point of a fashion show c'est ├ža?

During casting for our annual University fashion show, I noticed all of these beautifully diverse international students come in to audition, so confident in their attire and determined to kill the game with an air of indescribable elegance and professionalism. Dark hair and eyes, caramel, coffee, porcelain and toffee skin tones. Afros, braids, twists and straight black hair. Instantly I felt a pang of annoyance over how such diverse beauty was so underrepresented in the world of pop culture. 

Beauty is limited to light hair, pale skin and tinted eyes right???? Wrong. 

It is true that we base talent and beauty on what we are used to seeing the most. Now due to the immense coverage of people of colour in day time TV (Empire, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder and Grey's Anatomy) the game is changing...but not quite enough. 

I ask myself where are all of the Japanese, Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Latina, African influencers? Why aren't they storming the fashion, film and beauty industry like their white counterparts? Why are people still calling my new hairstyle dreads instead of braids? Why was it that we initially placed pale skin tones in a section that represented the Tundra climate and darker skin tones in a section that represented the Arid climate? Why are black people still playing ghetto characters and white people CEOs in the film industry? Where is this ignorance coming from?  My brain switches to overdrive at the thought of having many different forms of beauty being represented in the media all at once. 

What if we cultivated an integrated community so special that people in every race and culture would feel empowered, confident, beautiful? 
So who is in the position of power to increase diversity? Producers, casting directors, scriptwriters, fashion and beauty magazines. As much as you don't want to believe this, our brains are set in automatic pilot and therefore our thoughts are heavily controlled by outside influencers. 

However with the right people in charge, what could the future hold?  An influx of people with different appearances, backgrounds and versatile stories to tell in the media and film industry. Our standards in terms of talent and beauty will change and subsequently they will rise. Prejudice in society will continue to dwindle because people will no longer fear what they think they do not know. People of colour will be seen on TV in equal ratio to their western white peers. Kids will begin to embrace their point of difference. We'll cherish that and play it to our best advantage. We will no longer accept the standard of looking and acting the same.

Maybe I want to help with that. Maybe I want to change pop culture. 


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