The lack of racial diversity and representation of black people within the fashion industry is still an issue in 2020. While this isn't a new topic, it's something I've been reminded of after chatting with today's podcast guest.
New York-based model, Tash Ncube spoke up about the lack of diversity and tokenism within the fashion industry. Tash explained, "I've been the token black girl and the token curvy girl a bunch of times. Casting directors often think they can do a 2-for-1 but it's not enough, far from it".
Listen to the Podcast below
In this episode we discuss:
The lack of racial diversity in the media
In particular, the lack of Aboriginal representation in modern Australia
Tokenism in the fashion industry
Tash's favourite things about her Zimbabwe heritage and culture
How to support positive change
Becoming an ally and breaking the cycle of oppression
Tash's tips on becoming more confident and learning to accept your body
Tash's tips on breaking into the modelling industry and more!
Zimbabwean born, Australian raised model, Tash Ncube started her modelling journey at the age of 15. After years of chasing her dreams, she moved to New York where she has created a successful modelling career.
"Alongside modelling, I love writing, fashion, travelling and I'm also completing my Bachelors in Laws. I majored in international law and global governance at Macquarie University in Sydney. Once I graduate, I’d love to use my degree to work in international trade policy focusing on African countries. But for now, I love what I'm doing and want to continue inspiring young girls and women all around the world. My main goal in my career is to be the representation I never saw growing up" Tash explained.
The lack of racial diversity in the media
"The lack of racial diversity is just not good enough. Especially in Australia, if you walk down a metropolitan street in Melbourne, Sydney or Perth, you're going to see a whole range of different people. Unfortunately, that's just not represented in the media" Tash points out.
"Indigenous voices are the voices we need to hear more of. I want to hear Indigenous voices, see Indigenous artists and I want to see more spaces for them to create and be apart of the conversation"
"Australia is an extremely multicultural country and that's what makes Australia, Australia. We just have to step up the game when it comes to showing real-life diversity on the TV, in magazines and in print. There needs to be more Indigenous representation as the Traditional Custodians of the land, we don't see or hear from them enough." Tash said.
Tokenism is the fashion industry
"When it comes to Tokenism in the modelling industry it's something I've personally experienced many times, in particular for campaigns. Often I'm the 2-for-1 because they have picked a curvy AND a black woman but I'll be the ONLY curvy and black woman there and it's just not good enough".
"There are so many variations of curvy women and of black women, it's not enough to have one woman that ticks two boxes and think that you've done a great job and are a pioneer in diversity.
"Not to mention that from an economical and financial standpoint businesses that do not have a diverse range of models are missing out on a huge market. If you don't have diversity within your campaigns you're damaging your brand because people are simply going to take their money elsewhere."
Plus size women being congratulated for existing
Tash points out that women in bigger bodies don't need to be congratulated for simply existing. "I'm confused as to why people think I need a round of applause for existing in my body or being in a bikini. Just because societies standards may say that my body type doesn't fit your expectations, doesn't mean I need to be congratulated for accepting my body."
"Being from Zimbabwe, the women there have bigger bodies but simply love and accept them. When I went home at the age of 15 years old I realised that my body isn't large, I'm just regular. In a lot of countries and cultures my size is regular, so why is it so groundbreaking that I'm embracing my body?" Tash questioned.
"More representation of diversity and inclusion in the media and the fashion industry means that more boys and girls grow up seeing themselves being represented."
Tash explained that "in the past, bigger bodies have been vilified but I want to normalise it. Let's normalise seeing all different types of bodies so we don't have to be congratulated for just accepting our bodies and being confident in ourselves" Tash concluded.
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