By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 16:29 EST, 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:29 EST, 21 March 2013
Chanel Iman, a Victoria’s Secret Angel and Vogue regular, has revealed that she is often turned away by casting agents and designers who ‘already have one black girl’ for the job.
The 22-year-old, who has walked the runway for the likes of Balenciaga, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, and Stella McCartney, said racism was still an issue in fashion.
She told London’s The Times: ‘A few times I got excused by designers who told me, “We already found one black girl. We don’t need you any more.” I felt very discouraged.
‘When someone tells you, “We don’t want you because we already have one of your kind,” it’s really sad.’
Miss Iman said that all-black magazine issues, like Vogue Italia’s, don’t necessarily help, either.
‘It doesn’t help us; it just puts us into a category,’ she said.
Instead, she calls for more diversity in the often all-white fashion shows as well as magazines.
Miss Iman explained: ‘There needs to be a permanency [about] using black models,” she says. “You still see all-white shows in Europe and New York.’
Chanel Iman: The top model has revealed she is often turned away by casting agents and designers who ‘already have one black girl’ for the job
However fashion photographer Steven Meisel, who shoots campaigns for Valentino, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Prada said he often faces negative feedback from clients when he casts models of color for big jobs.
‘I’ve asked my advertising clients so many times, “Can we use a black girl?” They say no. Advertisers say black models don’t sell.‘
Meanwhile, top casting director James Scully criticized Calvin Klein’s habit of putting just one model of color in its show every season.
‘They do it to not get in trouble, they don’t do it because they believe black women should be on that runway,’ he said.
‘Versace will use Joan Smalls in their advertising, but why wasn’t she walking their show in February?’
And casting agent Barbara Nicoli, who decides which models work for Gucci, said that the brand’s lack of diversity comes from seeking a certain kind of beauty.
‘Gucci never has a huge number of black girls in the show because in the mind of Frida [Giannini, Gucci’s creative director], she wants this [specific] type of girl.
‘She wants this girl, then if the model she likes is black or Asian, it’s fine. But when you do a casting, [you see a lot fewer black and Asian models than white models].’
Ms Nicoli added that different races have different body shapes, which can be difficult when casting a fashion show.
‘It’s also true that, for example, Caucasians have a specific body type, black girls have a specific body shape, and Asian girls have a specific body shape.
‘So I guess there are some collections where it’s more perfect for an Asian body shape because they are more flat and less sexy, in a way. Asians, they are not curvy, so to put an Asian [who’s] very flat [with a] baby body shape in a show where normally the designer knows they love sexy, beautiful, curvy girls, it’s a bit of nonsense.’