ICYMI, Model Squad is a new E! docuseries that follows nine fashion models living, loving, and working in NYC.
In a recent episode, runway model Shanina Shaik spoke openly about the fashion industry's huge lack of diversity, as well as the very real racism and colorism that models of color continue to face:
Ping Hue jumped in, telling her white cast mates that she knows "it's super hard [for them] to relate to" these experiences, to which Victoria Secret model Devon Windsor responded, "I literally fucking went through hell" working in a different country every month for two years. "[I] didn't speak that language, didn't speak Paris, didn't speak Italian," she added.
When Ping said she didn't think Devon could "relate to the turmoils of being different," the VS model quickly responded "Do you know how hard it is to be blonde? I have to get a highlight every month!"
People were equally parts offended and bewildered by both Devon's calling Paris a language, and her hijacking a woman of color's conversation about racism and colorism and centering it on her highlights. "White women in a nutshell," @marquitasade wrote in a now-viral tweet.
Twitter user @emilytrevinno specified that anyone can change their hair color, but people of color can't change their skin color. "Don’t try to compare your 'struggles' when you haven’t step foot in their skin & experienced the hardships they face in their everyday life," she wrote.
While @Deliauhhh addressed how even on the topic of hair discrimination, blondes STILL have it much better than black natural-haired professionals (and students!): "She has to get highlights every month, yet others are denied jobs because of their NATURAL hair texture."
Of course Devon's delusional argument inspired A LOT of jokes, like this one from fellow white woman A. M. Lalonde: "Do you not know how hard it is to learn to speak Paris?" she wrote "And highlights are no joke! The day I missed my hair appointment was the same day they 'ran out' of pumpkin spice at Starbucks! Coincidence? No. Reverse racism? YES!"
Devon has since responded to the backlash with a screenshot apology in which she admits that her comments were "incredibly insensitive," but also claims that "the majority of the conversation was edited."
And fellow white Model Squad star Olivia Culpo also took to Twitter to defend Devon: "Please understand information can be taken out of context & misconstrued to manufacture drama. I can assure you Dev has an immensely kind heart and anything that portrays otherwise is a manipulation of her true character."
For future references, when a person of color is sharing their experiences with racism, take it from the greatest supermodel of all time and just don't compare your life to theirs.