HEROES Models Management is pleased to announce the inaugural winners of its new mentorship and management program, aimed at creating opportunity for BIPOC artists within the fashion industry. For this first year, the search was for hair and make-up artists, and the recipients are Suhailah Wali (Hair) and Whittany Robinson (Make-Up). They will each receive support from the agency for a period of 1 year across a wide range of areas, such as contacts, book development, and bookings.
It is widely recognized that there is simply not enough diversity on sets as a whole, and openings for BIPOC talent, whether it be as a hair or make-up artist, stylist or photographer, are often far and few between. The program was conceived as a way to create further opportunities for BIPOC talent to break through, and to help rectify the recurring experiences of BIPOC models on set, where they are often expected to arrive ‘camera ready’; this due to the many hair and make-up artists not trained in their hair type or with the right skin-tone make-up.
Speaking on behalf of HEROES, Julien Miachon-Hobson, Founder & Director “There is no doubt that we can always do more, and our priority has always been for our talent to work in safe, inspiring and fulfilling conditions. Suhailah Wali and Whittany Robinson both have a fresh and modern perspective, and we loved their work and energy. We are excited to support them in this next stage of their careers and for others to discover their talent and know-how.”
Whittany: “There’s a difference between diversity and inclusivity. From experience, I know that it is possible to be in a room with a diverse group of people but if the power dynamics in that room are heavily weighted towards one group then that’s not actual diversity. So what the industry needs in addition to diversity is actual inclusivity. Inclusivity not only welcomes but honors more perspectives.
Like many Black artists who are suddenly getting the attention that they deserve, I’m hoping that this isn’t simply a trend, but the actual change that the industry has so desperately needed.”
Suh: “We have been here. We have been overlooked and not considered. We want to change the narrative. With times being the way they are, now is the time to take initiative. HEROES is taking that first step and the initiative: being open to learn and adapt. This opportunity makes sure models are getting taken care of, while clients are also able to see different artists. The goal should be eventually there will be no need for a mentorship, instead Black artists on set is the norm. Let us make it a normal thing.”
As a first step of the mentorship program and to start building out their books, a shoot was organized for Suhailah and Whittany to showcase their respective talents, shot by photographer Christian Cody in New York. Whilst supported by HEROES over the next 12 months, both artists will be also be able to continue working with their existing clients directly.