But that was three years ago now, they dont have an option. And its been a joint effort, with casting directors like Ashley Brokaw and Anita Bitton, as well as stylists like Karl Templer and Katie Grand outliers in positions of power taking a chance by casting diverse models in what might typically be all-white shows.
Hairstylists are starting to think, Ive got to learn this or Im not going to get hired. Now, when I talk to stylists, theyre saying, What are the best products you use on your hair? I did a show this season in Milan and the stylist didnt have the right product. By the time I got to Paris, she had it. At Miu Miu, where over half the models were black, backstage they had all the right products.
But you have to meet the industry halfway. I always make sure my dreads are super-clean and neat, so in some ways they still look classic. I also got my dreads really long that way you can do lots of other styles with them. Even though Im pushing my agenda, Im giving them things to work with.
Thanks to social media, its easier for models to speak up. When I was signed, in 2010, my agents would tell me, You need to shut up and stand there and look pretty.
Now, with platforms like Instagram, where people have their own space to be vocal, its cool to be yourself. Agents encourage girls to have more personality; clients want that now. Just being pretty doesnt work any more. And now, Im having so much more success the industrys finally caught up to me, I actually make sense in it now.
Next year I suspect there are going to be more girls with dreads on the catwalk, with more of us saying: I like my hair this way, I like my hair curly. Theyre still going to cast you. If a girl is dope, a girl is dope. If you stand by who you are, the world has to take notice.
As told to Ellie Violet Bramley