• Howard perfectly mimics the original advert (Victoria's Secret) (Raffael Dickreuter)Source: Raffael Dickreuter
A Liberian-American model is re-creating famous advertising campaigns to highlight a lack of diversity in the modelling industry.
Bianca Soldani

12 Dec 2016 - 3:49 PM  UPDATED 14 Dec 2016 - 1:38 PM

Having grown up in West Africa, 27-year-old Deddeh Howard never thought being black was different.

But when trying to pursue a modelling career in Los Angeles, she quickly found that agencies would turn her away because “they already have a black model” on their books.

Howard has since turned her frustration into activism, and along with photographer Raffael Dickreuter, has created a "black mirror" photo series to bring attention to the lack of women of colour in western modelling and show that their images can be just as striking.


In the series, Howard mimics the clothing, hairstyle and pose of a number of white models including Kate Moss, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, from iconic magazine ads.

“We are bombarded everyday with flashy advertisement, billboards and television ads that try to inspire us to buy the products that are hitting the market," she writes in her blog.

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“If you're lucky enough to be different, don't ever change,” Khoudia Diop tells her 250,000 Instagram followers.

"Something that has always bothered me when you see these amazing images is that very rarely you ever see a black woman on them.”

“In a time where black people too often are in the media for being underrepresented at important events such as the Oscars or make headlines for being targeted by the police I felt it was time to do something positive and inspiring about my race."

Howard now hopes that her images will show people that "fashion is not black or white", and that models of every skin tone can be the heroes of spectacular shots.

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