In her photo series entitled Black Mirror, Deddah Howard remakes a number of well-known modeling campaigns featuring famous models including Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
Deddeh Howard is a 27-year-old model, medical student and fashion blogger who immigrated to the Los Angeles, California area from her home country of Liberia.
Photographer boyfriend Raffael Dickreuter and Howard collaborated to re-create ad campaigns by some of the world’s biggest fashion brands — including Dolce & Gabbana and Victoria’s Secret – as “a call for more diversity” in the industry. Howard told BuzzFeed News: “I thought it was perfect because we are mirroring two images. When you [black women] look in the mirror you question: ‘This could be me, why is this not me?”
Howard said the series was inspired by the difficulty she faced as an African American model: “Agencies would often tell me, ‘We like your look but there’s a black girl already’. It shouldn’t be limited to just one black girl; there can be more than one!” She added: “It’s as if they [agencies] are ashamed to represent diversity. It’s very painful and it made me feel insecure and bad of myself.”
Howard intends for her project, Black Mirror, to send a message that models of color are just as beautiful as anyone else, and should be more than simply the fulfillment of a diversity quota.
Howard has been quoted as calling it “unbelievable” and even “bizarre” that there are hardly any models of color featured in fashion magazines. “There are many beautiful black models and they are not represented the way they should be,” she said.
Dickreuter said they worked very hard to ensure that their photos mirrored the original campaigns as accurately as possible.
Just to give you an idea, it took the team nearly two months to find a motorcycle similar to that used in the Guess advertisement featuring Gigi Hadid. Dickreuter said he is “very proud” of Howard and is“thrilled” the pair managed to find such success with their most recent compilation.
Howard stated that finding the proper attire and accessories was “quite difficult”, but certainly “worthwhile”.
While Black Mirror had a rather short shelf life online, Howard said she was very pleased with the outpouring of support for her project. “I’m very grateful people feel the same that I do, people are telling me that I’m an inspiration to them and it feels unreal. We should keep fighting for what we believe in.”