New York-based model Ajak Deng said in an interview with SBS World News Radio that she struggles to find work in Australia. The internationally acclaimed model who has walked the runways globally and been featured in numerous high fashion campaigns and editorials. “To be honest, it’s kind of heartbreaking,” the model said, “When I come home and I don’t even have two pages of an editorial [magazine shoot], and I don’t even have a catalogue to shoot – nothing. It’s like I don’t exist here whatsoever.”
Another African-Australian model of Zimbabwean descent, Faro Musodza, said there’s an issue of colourism in the Australian fashion industry with casting agents who have a set idea of what kind of model they are looking for. “The issue of colourism, where if you are fairer skinned you’re most likely to get the job because you fit the description of being light in complexion. And then when it comes to being dark, you have to be really dark – as in Sudanese dark. And so I’m a mix of Sudanese and a fairer-skinned girl,” Musodza said.
However, the scarcity of indigenous and migrant women in Australia’s modelling industry may soon become a thing of the past as former model Sasha Sarago, has now created Ascension Magazine aimed at representing women from a diverse range of backgrounds – the first magazine to ever do so.
“When you look at the Australian fashion industry, there’s a breakdown of 1100 models. With that breakdown, there’s 16 Chinese models and 7 Indigenous (models),” she told SBS radio. “Now that’s very minimal to say the least.”
Ascension Magazine is expected to hit digital newsstands later this month.