'No dark skin': Sexy black models say they were 'dismissed' by brand at Miami Swim Week casting call because of their race
More than 15 black models have said they were allegedly 'dismissed' by a California-based swimsuit line at a Miami Swim Week casting call because of their skin color on Thursday
Two black models along with 15 others have claimed that they were turned away from a casting call due to the color of their skin in Miami on Thursday. The two models Joia Talbott and Kacey Leggett took to Instagram to share their horrific and unfortunate incident which took place while they were waiting in line for a Miami Swim Week casting call for KYA swimwear.
The women shared a video on social media stating that the black women were told that the casting was closed when it actually wasn't. "We finally get out of line and they open the casting back up", Joia Talbott said. "They told us they didn't want any black models and Afros were a no-no". In the video, Kacey Legett also said, "I'm lost for words. I'm still trying to process what happened".
According to Talbott, there was another woman who was "directing traffic" and letting models know when they could enter the casting room. The woman was allegedly pulled aside by the casting director for a private conversation. After speaking with the director, Talbott says that the woman pointed to her in the line and said, "You, your hair, no". Talbott has her natural hair in an afro style and responded by saying, "Wow, really?" but the woman held her ground on her strange decision. Talbott added that she was putting her shorts back on her swimsuit and getting ready to leave when the woman announced to all the models standing in the line, "No dark skin".
"They were definitely not feeling my afro at all, so I didn't stand a chance, right? Wow. We're ready to go back to LA where we're appreciated, and we book," Talbott added. Another model standing in line, Kate Citrone, told Fashion Week Online that she was also turned away. Citrone said, "We were all turned away from this casting. I noticed the designer still accepting models of a fairer skin type at the door, bringing them upstairs".
However, she went on to add that it was a "mystery" if they were turned away "for our skin tone or because we genuinely didn't fit the look the designer was looking for". The swimsuit line KYA swimwear was extremely disturbed by the allegations made and wrote in a statement, "Everyone at KYA Swim is deeply disturbed by the allegations brought by Joia Talbott and other models about the casting event at Miami Swim Week".
"KYA Swim is proud of its record of diversity and we are the midst of looking into the events of last Thursday to review the actions of the production company in charge of the casting call," the statement. Talbott also spoke to Cosmopolitan and said, "We get chosen over every day, that just comes with the territory—either they like you or they don't. That's not what it is. I have very thick skin".
She also went on to add that this casting "went above and beyond being disrespectful and degrading towards women of color". She also revealed that the casting agent looked at her and said, "You, your hair, no". The black women who were supposedly discriminated against posed together for a photograph in their swimsuits to stand out against the swimwear line. Talbott also posted the photograph on Instagram of 11 women who are different shades of color.
She captioned the image, "When a casting director tells you they don't want any afros or women of color... You STILL show them just how powerful you are. YOU. CAN'T. BREAK. US!" Leggett also posted the group shots along with the caption, "Yo! Somebody tell Miami there's no such thing as ''too many brown girls''. Many viewers and fans took to social media to praise the women for standing up to people and brands who differentiate based on color. The fans also encouraged them to embrace their complexion and natural hair.
Fans also took to social media to slam the casting agency and said, "All of you designers should feel ashamed". Another person added, "They don’t want us to represent their line, so we shouldn’t shop their products". Another person wrote, "It's their loss because each and every one of them is stunning!"