Great British Bake-Off Winner Nadiya Hussain Said She Was Told ‘Black Hands Don’t Sell Jewelry’ At An Audition

Kristin Salaky
Photo credit: Nadiya Hussain - Instagram
Photo credit: Nadiya Hussain - Instagram

From Delish

Great British Baking Show winner Nadiya Hussain recalled a time when she was racially profiled at a hand modeling casting call and was told "Black hands don't sell jewelry."

Nadiya shared this via a post on her Instagram page under a photo of her showing her hands. She began the caption by saying she responded to an audition for hand modeling in her local paper. Once she arrived to the casting, Nadiya said she was told that those running the audition that they "didn't know" she was Black.

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I was responding to an ad in the paper, back in the day when we looked for jobs in the paper...there was an ad for a hand model needed to model jewellery. I called. Made an appointment. No previous experience required. I had hands, I needed the money, so figured it was a no brainer! It was a sure thing, I was counting my pennies before I had even got the gig... walked in on the day. The room went quiet, the room filled with white faces and white hands. The receptionist stumbled. I sat down while she called someone in. I was met by a women who came and greeted me. I figured it was my turn to show off my hands. She said ' im sorry I didn't know you were black' 'yes, right but the ad wanted hands, I have hands' 'black hands dont sell jewellery'. That was her response. The blood rushed to my face. I was so embarrassed, I was now a deep shade of burgundy. I never really thought about my hands, till the colour of the skin that covered them stopped me from getting a job. When you are a teenager, already a little lost, words like this stick. Fast forward to my 30s and now my hands are in my cookbooks and in cookery shows, even now I look at them and still I have a seed of doubt imbedded telling me that people must be disgusted by the sight of my brown hands. But as you can see from my second picture, you know how I feel about it now. I use my hamds with pride and allow them to grace cookbooks and cookery shows, to hold my chidrens hands and stroke their little faces, to cook, to feed... to hold! I have since worked with Swarovski with these very hands, worn their jewellery with pride! When I worked with them they never knew the anxiety I felt at the thought of showcasing my hands, but I did it anyway! We need to start representing with our voices, with our eyes, with our thoughts, with our hearts and with our hands! I am taking ownership back with my hands ! #represent #hands #withallofourbeing #timeforchange @swarovski

A post shared by Nadiya (@nadiyajhussain) on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:52pm PDT

"She said 'I'm sorry I didn't know you were black,'" Nadiya recalled: "'Yes, right but the ad wanted hands, I have hands.' 'Black hands don't sell jewelry.' That was her response."

The chef said she was immediately embarrassed by the racist incident and said that "words like this stick," especially when you're young. It's something she's had to battle with even as she's risen to fame in the food world.

"Fast forward to my 30s and now my hands are in my cookbooks and in cookery shows, even now I look at them and still I have a seed of doubt embedded telling me that people must be disgusted by the sight of my brown hands," she wrote.

But Nadiya said that her attitude has since changed and that now her hands are an important part of her work, showing a second photo of her flipping off the camera, explaining how she feels about the incident, and any shame associated with it, now.

"I use my hands with pride and allow them to grace cookbooks and cookery shows, to hold my children's' hands and stroke their little faces, to cook, to feed... to hold!" she wrote.

"We need to start representing with our voices, with our eyes, with our thoughts, with our hearts and with our hands!" she concluded the post. "I am taking ownership back with my hands!"

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