Model Duckie Thot Speaks Out About Natural Hair
South Sudanese model Duckie Thot, who was formerly a contestant on Australia's Next Top Model, recently wrote a candid Instagram post about what it's like to deal with her natural hair in the fashion industry. Her honesty has since garnered the post over 17,000 likes and 1,600 comments, because it confronts the fashion industry's lack of diversity.
In the post, Duckie told the story of how the Australian brand Dinosaur Designs asked her to wear her natural hair for a shoot. She was apprehensive about it at first. "I've never really had a good experience with my natural hair and modeling in Australia before," Duckie wrote. "I remember on top model on one of the episodes I had to cornrow my own hair. I was extremely upset and embarrassed that they 'didn't know how' to cornrow my natural hair when at the end of the day that's their job."
She then explained that the Top Model experience made her emotional. She was afraid of being eliminated from the show simply because the hairstylists didn't know how to work with her afro-textured tresses.
Last weekend, Winner Harlow - Canadian model, former America's Next Top Model contestant, and Lemonade fixture - showed off her short natural curls in an Instagram post. Winnie reportedly shared on Snapchat that she was worried about her hair. But she also decided it was OK to drag Duckie down by posting one of Duckie's Dinosaur Designs campaign shots (more of which you can see below) and captioning it with, "LMFAO! WHAT ARE THOOOOOSEEEEE cauliflower ass head."
Duckie clapped back in the classiest way ever. "It's not fun being bullied for something you can't control and to have a top model woman of color who I thought encouraged acceptance and self love call me out for rocking my natural hair, isn't cool at all," she wrote in her post.
Winnie reportedly apologized to Duckie over what she said was a misunderstanding. Apparently Winnie's "cauliflower" comment was directed towards her sister, not Duckie.
"I know what it feels like to be forced to do a lot of things with your hair that you’re uncomfortable with. As a black woman in the industry and as a black woman period, it’s hard to deal with your hair," she said. "Not a lot of people know how to deal with your hair. So please understand, from deep in my heart, I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings. I am human, I do crack jokes with my friends and family.”
Duckie's Instagram post doesn't even cover the half of what she's faced in the fashion industry. In a recent interview with Teen Vogue, Duckie opened up even more about feeling inferior during her time on Australia's Next Top Model because of the deep color of her skin and the texture of her hair.
According to Duckie, the problem stems from society's Eurocentric standard of beauty. "Being a black woman, we haven't really been taught how to take care of our natural hair - we've only been taught how to hide it," Duckie told Teen Vogue. "I think hair companies, the media, hairstylists, and the industry itself are to blame. They haven't made the same efforts to ensure black women are looked after in their most natural form. ... I think [the industry] should really take ownership and start to invest into us."
Unfortunately, the problem isn't only with natural hair. Top models like Nykhor Paul and Victoria's Secret model Leomie Anderson have called out professional makeup artists for not carrying a wide range of foundation shades that cater to women with darker skin tones.
Duckie added to that point, telling Teen Vogue, "Like when the makeup artist pulls out their palette and they've got 20 different shades of foundation for a white girl, but only have four 'darker' shades," she said. "Then, I'm awkwardly sitting there thinking 'none of that matches my skin whatsoever.' It's those type of situations that [black models] are put in and not catered to. ... By constantly challenging and pushing at [these discrepancies] I hope we will eventually make a difference."
Through it all, Duckie has learned the most important thing is self-love. "Since I started modeling, I've been molded by absolutely everybody in every corner," she said to Teen Vogue. "People have always told me what to do, what I should look like, what hair I should have - all these sorts of things. And, I listened to these comments for a very long time."
It's those very experiences that have kept her grounded in the belief that she is a representation for girls who look like her. "When I started listening to my own voice, that's when things really started picking up for me," she explained to Teen Vogue. "That for me has been the biggest change in my whole career - listening to myself, what I feel, and what I know. Until you find your own groove, you're going to be confused. I definitely recommend finding yourself before you dive into something. Really being sure of what you represent and being confident in that. Know that you're a voice for hundreds or thousands of girls out there."
This post has been updated.
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