The 22-year-old British beauty has landed campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry, graced the cover of Vogue Italia and Teen Vogue, and won Model Of The Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2008, yet still faces the type of racial insensitivity that harkens back to the Civil Rights era.
In a feature article for Net-A-Porter's The Edit, Jourdan talks about being turned away from model castings because the client “didn't want any more black girls." A story identical to Chanel Iman's experience within the industry.
And it gets worse.Jourdan, who was the first black model to walk in Prada's fashion show in over a decade, also reveals the time a white makeup artist said that she didn't want to work on Dunn's face because she was black. This wasn't a case of a white makeup artist not knowing how to apply products to a darker skin tone -- this was just pure racism. Although, Jourdan has dealt with that issue as well. Back in October 2011, Jourdan expressed her frustration publicly with the following tweet:
I swear some people need to learn how to do black hair/skin
— Jourdan Dunn (@missjourdandunn) October 3, 2011
Jourdan is able to deal with these issues and more with help from her mentors/friends that include W's Edward Enninful and famed makeup artist Pat McGrath. She credits her mother for building her self-esteem and being a great role model. And her resilience comes from being a single mother to her 3-year-old son, Riley, who suffers from sickle-cell disease.
“If ever I'm sad, I just have to remember, I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing it for him.”
We're glad that Jourdan is able to enjoy a successful career despite working in an industry that so blatantly disregards diversity, however, it's hard not to wonder what heights she could reach if that wasn't the case.