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A Black Model Created A Powerful Campaign To Make A Point About Diversity

Deddeh Howard's Black Mirror photo series remakes modelling campaigns featuring Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

Deddeh Howard is a 27-year-old model, medical student and fashion blogger raised in Liberia but living in Los Angeles.

Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

She collaborated with her photographer boyfriend Raffael Dickreuter to re-create some of the world's biggest modelling campaigns – including ones by Dolce & Gabbana and Victoria's Secret – as "a call for more diversity" in the industry, in a series called Black Mirror. She told BuzzFeed News: "I thought it was perfect because we are mirroring two images. When you [black women] look in the mirror you question: 'This could be me, why is this not me?"

VIVARA / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

Howard said the series, which took about three months to make, was inspired by the discrimination she faced as a model: "Agencies would often tell me, 'We like your look but there's a black girl already'. It shouldn't be limited to just one black girl; there can be more than one!" She added: "It's as if they [agencies] are ashamed to represent diversity. It's very painful and it made me feel insecure and bad of myself."

Dolce & Gabbana / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

With Black Mirror she wanted to send a message that models of colour, especially black models, are just as gorgeous as anyone else, and should be at the forefront of campaigns.

Victoria's Secret / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

Howard said she finds it "unbelievable" and "bizarre" that there are hardly any models of colour featured in fashion magazines. "There are many beautiful black models and they are not represented the way they should be,” she said.

David Yurman / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

Dickreuter said they worked hard to make their photos match the real campaigns as accurately as possible.

Calvin Klein / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

For example, it took two months to find a similar motorcycle for the re-creation of the Guess advert featuring Gigi Hadid. He said he is "very proud" of Howard and "thrilled" they managed to pull the project off.

Guess / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

Howard said gathering the right clothes and accessories was "quite difficult", but definitely "worthwhile".

Chanel / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

Despite Black Mirror only having been live for a short period of time, Howard said she was thrilled at the response. "I'm very grateful people feel the same that I do, people are telling me that I'm an inspiration to them and it feels unreal. We should keep fighting for what we believe in."

Gucci / Raffael Dickreuter / Via secretofdd.com

Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Victoria Sanusi at victoria.sanusi@buzzfeed.com.

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