Tanzanian model Herieth Paul announced via Instagram Thursday that she would be one of the new faces of Maybelline Cosmetics.
This move has coincided with a massive diversity push in many different sectors.
Diversity has become a hot-button issue over the past five years or so. Industries that have been primarily dominated by white faces are being challenged and forced to open their doors. Tech, film, TV and the world of modeling have taken opportunities to be more inclusive, because these industries have discovered that diversity equals profits.
“When I first started modeling in 2011, there were very few darker-skinned girls,” Paul told Glamour. “Now I see girls from all over the world. You see Asian girls, Indian girls — you see every kind of girl. I feel like it’s getting better — we’re not there yet — but I see a change.”
The fashion industry is changing, but the numbers show that the change is glacial. According to The Fashion Spot, white models made up 77.6 percent of the appearances in 373 shows across New York, London, Paris and Milan. That number was higher in years past, with estimates in the 80-85 percentile. There were 460 Fall 2015 print ads in national magazines and trade publications, and nearly 85 percent of the models featured were white.
Like most industries, change will not come easy.
Skin tone is only one way Paul will be challenging the status quo. Her natural hair will also be front and center when she is seen in ads everywhere.
What makes Paul so unique is that she will be one of the few models rocking natural hair for Maybelline while the majority don’t. The last time this happened was in 2001 — 15 years ago!
“As women we put sooooo much emphasis on our hair!!! As if hair defines beauty? I am always so grateful for women who are FREE AND BOLD enough to cut it ALL off,” Paul believes.
She will be featured in upcoming print ads this spring.