Title: Often excluded from casting because of the colour of her skin, the Selassé decided to open a modelling agency
Dated: May-June 2012
While I walk through the reception of the hotel I encounter a very beautiful girl. An ebony statue. Practically perfect. I stop her and ask her if she wants to get her picture taken for Vogue. "Me?", she exclaims surprised. "I’ve been in Dallas for six months and no one in my agency ever thought of sending me to a commercial catalogue casting, yet along to Vogue. I’m too black."
This doesn’t surprise me. In fact, why had I dedicated an issue to black girls? Precisely for this reason. Agency castings have precise rules: in certain cases, no black girls. "It’s not only a matter of color, but also of features. For example, they want smaller noses and, above all, you should never “do ethnic” ", she explains the next day on the beach, while we take the pictures. "I went to college in New Mexico and, besides Dallas, in other agencies in Los Angeles, but never in New York. My agents think I’m not suited for Paris or Milan. They send you to castings only for business and never invest in you: there are too many girls and never enough work for girls of our race."
I’ve always thought so, but hearing it so directly is shocking. The Elite agency always holds a contest in Africa and takes only the winner to America. "Too little to even understand what could happen to you. You have no opportunities."
And so Selassé has decided to open her own agency to try to give other girls a chance. "In South Africa there are agencies and even girls that become models, but they are always white. There’s still plenty to do!" I remind her of our Black section on Vogue.it and ask her to send in suggestions for new faces. We’re waiting and open!
L'Uomo Vogue, May-June 2012 (n. 431)
Photo by Francesco Carrozzini
Paulina says: I don't know how I managed to miss this fab piece about Ghanaian model Selasse in 2012 via the Vogue Italy website but I did --and now I'm sharing. For more info about Selassé's model agency visit: https://www.facebook.com/Shofagency