Anais Mali is the latest fashion model to speak up about racism she’s experienced in the industry. In an interview with Into The Gloss this week, Anais spoke about growing up in the South of France and her first attempts at traveling to Paris to try modeling; needless to say she didn’t just walk in and own the place, unfortunately.
She told ITG founder Emily Weiss, “I would go to Paris to do jobs. But none of the modeling agencies in Paris wanted to take me. I just kept hearing, ‘This is Paris; black girls don’t work here.’ France is very racist, you don’t see a lot of powerful black people in France—it’s starting but it’s slow-moving.” Paris does indeed have a strong conservative base, but you’d think that in the 2000s such blatant institutionalized racism might have waned a bit.
Perhaps Bethann Hardison’s diversity coalition is making inroads with so-called runway racism by keeping the issue on the minds of people in the industry. Anais has seen some progress, too. “I feel like the industry is trying to focus more on diversity, but there’s still a long way to go,” she said to ITG. “In Milan, you don’t really see black girls on the runway; it’s sad. You hear things like, ‘We already have Jourdan [Dunn], one black girl is enough.’ I’m getting good work, I’m happy, but I want to see more black girls.” We hear you, Anais. One black girl is enough? Talk about a ridiculous thing to say.
Anais didn’t just focus on heavy topics with ITG, she also spoke in depth about her beauty routines and favorite products. See here for all the details, including why Anais envies Doutzen Kroes’s butt.