People are mad about the way Madewell styled a black model’s hair, but this is what the model has to say
Another day, another brand incorrectly styling a black woman’s hair. Or is it? That’s the response Madewell received after images surfaced of a black model in one of the brand’s dresses. The model, who has since been identified as Marihenny Pasible, is seen in an adorable sweater dress, but all anyone can focus on is her hair. Or better yet, her supposed lack of a natural hairstyle.
Twitter, of course, immediately had questions. “How? Why? Huh?” was pretty much the response about J. Crew, Madewell’s big sister brand, allowing a model to be shot without her hair perfectly coiffed, or at least brushed. The backlash was immediate, because this seemed like yet another example of a brand not embracing and caring for models of color. Historically, white models are made to look their best, while some black models can’t even get the attention of hair and makeup artists.
British model Leomie Anderson has been vocal about the struggle many black models face in castings and on set. She’s shared stories of makeup artists not having hues for deeper skin tones, which in the past caused her to walk down a runway “looking grey.” There are also countless instances of hairstylists who don’t understand how to style natural hair. false false
Even legendary model, the Naomi Campbell, has discussed how she used to bring her own makeup and hair styling products to set, because most artists didn’t have her shades. She told Teen Vogue,
"I would be backstage at shows and there would be stylists who didn’t have any experience working with black models."
In other words, this Madewell issue seemed like another example of a brand employing a predominately (or exclusively!) white crew, directors, and stylists who don’t understand the intricacies and awesomeness of darker skin and textured hair.
J. Crew was quick to apologize after the backlash.
But shortly after, we all got to hear directly from the model herself. Marihenny left a comment on The Shade Room, letting us all know she was cool with everything.
She was quick to point out that the relaxed, undone nature of her look was right in line with the brand’s casual vibe. There was no need for perfectly defined kinks or curls or slicked-down, laid edges. Just her hair in its natural state.
And if you take a look at Marihenny’s Instagram, she certainly embraces her natural hair.
The model’s IG feed even features another image from her Madewell shoot:
Hey, if Marihenny likes it, then we love it.