Top African Runway models talk about life, behind the dressing curtains and their personal solutions

Top African Runway models talk about life, behind the dressing curtains and their personal solutions

Photograph by JD Barnes/ Models: Ajak Deng, Nyakim Gatwech, Leomie Anderson, and Khoudia Diop

Due to the widespread flow of information that was brought about by the internet. A growing number of people are beginning to understand photography trade “secrets” and industry techniques like green-screens and “photoshopped” magazine covers. Green screens? Such visual techniques used to be known and understood only by those within the film and graphics industries. Hello, YouTube tutorials! As my primary school headmaster used to say, during our never-ending morning assemblies in the hot African sun, “Knowledge is power!”. All the while seven year old me, just stood there wishing Knowledge was an umbrella.

Doing your own makeup and hair on YouTube, then having a photo-shoot done by your nine-year-old sibling is a far cry from becoming a world-renowned, supermodel. When you go pro, suddenly mainstream beauty and body, and complexion standards start getting imposed onto your body. Every grain, tone, and hair on your body goes under scrutiny. No wonder The New York Times did a news piece on how models are made to feel old at the age of 25.

“If you love yourself other people will see it” – Nyakim Gatwech

In an unrelated interview with BET Senegalese top fashion model; Khoudia Diop (video attached below) said that she still had to carry her own makeup and brushes to global events. Just in case, because the stylists that get provided there would at times tell her that they do not know how to do her makeup. Watch the video as she and other African-skinned models talk about having to explain African skin and hair to their makeup teams. All this, while modeling at major global fashion events. One would think that at major runway shows and fashion shoots, the dress-room crew would be well informed on how to attend to a global range of skin tones and hair textures. Unfortunately, these multiple experiences by top runway models suggest otherwise.

Additional Solutions

In the video above the four African-skinned models did an excellent job of explaining their challenges behind the curtains. They did not just leave things there, but also went on to talk about how they address each obstacle that hits them. The struggle of African models that come across industry professionals who do not understand how to handle African skin tones, is not only found on the runway. Just have a listen below:

It’s a struggle that can be found even in my own personal experiences as a photography student. Before watching the next solution-packed videos please take time to listen to my podcast insert above. It will give you an insight into the relevance of the upcoming videos.

Advice on photographing African skin tones (even on phones)

How To Photograph Dark Skin Tones | Aundre Larrow

This first solution-packed video is a must watch for any photographer. Weather you use your phone and natural light or you have professional gear and studio lights. Aundre covers all the situations and has the best explanation on something called “undertones”. He broke it down into a very simple, easy to understand concept.

Tips on lighting your own YouTube vlogs

How I light my melanin | Hallease

Sometimes even you can fail to understand or light yourself up correctly. Hallease talks about how to do it yourself, with two correctly placed lights and a camera. Her advice merges perfectly with all the other information in the next video and the previous video.

How different camera brands handle skin tones

Skin Tones in Portraits: Canon vs Sony and How to Correct | Sean Tucker

In our final solution-packed video of today; Sean Tucker did an excellent job of exploring and explaining how different skin tones get captured by different camera brands. In particular, Canon vs Sony. There is a science that goes into photography, colours, undertones, and light. Sometimes wedding and fashion photographs might be unaware of this. Any photographer would benefit from taking the time to understand the issue around capturing skin tones. Thank you so much for reading this post!

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