The recent campaign by Nabila’s Salon came under fire for darkening the skin tone of model Zara Abid. The shoot, part of Hello Mag’s editorial, was a prime instance of cultural misappropriation and blackface as the model is not as dark as it was made up to look for such images.
However, neither the model nor the makeup artist think that’s the case. Nabila and Zara took to social media to defend their recent campaign, calling the backlash bizarre.
Talking to Instagram, Nabila said: “It doesn’t matter if you are black white or in between. I’m amazed at the backlash. A stylist has received for using a dark model , and enhancing her skin tone.”
She further added, “Why are they not represented or celebrated? Why do we still believe white is supreme? When will we shed our colonialist mindset? The world is becoming a melting pot.”
Zara, on the other hand, shared how her skin colour became the main reason many agencies won’t hire her.
“I’m the first hand victim of discrimination and colourism that exists in the society,” the model shared on Instagram. “The pictures shared of the shoot that have been circulating have been misconstrued and manipulated by the social media users who are often too quick to jump to conclusions.” wrote Zara on Instagram.
She added the shoot did enhance her colour because she wanted to empower her darker skin. “There is a lack of representation among our dark skinned girls. Why? Because people want to see fair faces donning products as there is a longstanding and deeply-seated colonial insecurity that has always been a part of our society.”
Zara concluded saying: “Why didn’t people stand up when I was portrayed as a lighter skin tone and are only enraged when I’m trying to represent the darker side of my population?” the model queried. “It’s high time we stop shaming dark skin and embrace it with open hearts and mind.”
Tabesh Khoja also took this issue on Instagram and wrote: “I’m compelled to address something that has been making the rounds on social media,” he shared in a statement. “The recent shoot that I uploaded became the target of cultural misappropriation and colourism/racism. The fact is that the reaction to the shoot has been blown out of proportion, largely misconstrued and heavily manipulated.”
He added, “Zara Abid is a dark skin model. She is stunning and utterly unapologetic about her complexion. However, people are ignoring her natural skin tone, choosing to lighten it up through makeup and photoshop. This shoot is not a representation of any particular culture.”
He further added, “Brown is beautiful, dark is divine and all complexions are equally stunning,” he continued. “Shame on you guys for shunning these dark skinned beauties. Our freedom of speech, expression and creativity must not be hijacked by narrow-minded, superficial, judgmental people.”
He concluded saying, “Stop bullying. Stop manipulating. Stop distorting facts and intentions. And most importantly, STOP COLOUR SHAMING.”