Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor is under fire for a recent comment about diversity, where she likened being blonde to the struggles of models of color in the fashion industry.
In a clip from E!’s new show, “Model Squad,” a few high-fashion models are seen discussing the constant fight against colorism and discrimination within the industry, as women of color.
“I used to get bullied,” Shanina Shaik revealed. “I remember a girl sat across from me and told me that I wasn’t going to be able to model because of my skin color; I wasn’t going to be able to do high fashion.”
Shaik, who was born to a Pakistani-Saudi Arabian father and a Lithuanian-Australian mother, revealed that many are shunned from certain high-profile events because of their skin.
“A lot of black girls have to miss Milan because….they don’t want girls of that color,” she added, which prompted Asian-American model, Ping Hue, to address Victoria’s Secret model, Devon Windsor.
“I know it’s super hard to relate to,” she said, as Devon responded with a story of her own struggles.
“No, we all go through hardships,” she said. “I literally went through hell and literally lived in different countries every other month and didn’t speak that language, didn’t speak Paris, didn’t speak Italian, and I did that for like to years.”
Ping responded, “I don’t think you can relate to the turmoils of being different,” to which Devon, who is white, responded, “Do you know how hard it is to be blonde?”
“I have to get a highlight every month,” she continued, as she giggled at what seemed to be a comparison to her blonde hair maintenance to the fight for inclusion in the industry.
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Though, Devon corrected and clarified herself in the following episode, claiming she “thought we were talking about struggles and hardships of being a model,” as she was “definitely not trying to come up with the argument that my struggles are just as hard as [Ping]’s,” social media was not convinced.
After the clip went viral, Devon defended herself once again in a statement, where she apologized for her “incredibly insensitive” words.
“The majority of the conversation was edited, and if a peer of mine wanted to discuss such a serious subject, I would never follow it with a joke. I have an immense amount of respect for my peers,” she wrote. “I know the struggle of diversity and inclusion in my business as well as in so many others is not one to take lightly. I made a comment in jest to infuse levity and I feel terrible that I have hurt others. I’m even more disappointed that my comments could lead anyone to believe that I have a prejudicial bias. I respect, honor and admire all of those breaking barriers and working to forge a new and inclusive community both in and outside of the modeling industry.”
“I hope that I can continue to learn from others,” she said. “I am always trying to be a better version of myself!”