Skip links
Supermodel reveals her ‘rate was different to white girls’

Supermodel reveals her ‘rate was different to white girls’

Somali-American supermodel Iman talked in a recent interview about the racism and the pay gap she encountered in the fashion industry, after moving to the U.S. to begin her career as a model.

The widow of English rock musician David Bowie said that it was the industry norm to pay white models a higher rate than their black counterparts.

“My first experience [of racism] was seeing the discrepancies in pay between white models and black models,” Iman said on Naomi Campbell’s Unfiltered show. “My rate was different to white girls – it was an unspoken rule.”

Iman, who grew up in Somalia and came to New York in 1975, said that the realization about the discrepancy led her to go on strike for three months. The unnamed modeling agency eventually changed her rate to equalize the pay disparity.

The supermodel also spoke about observing black models being treated in a tokenistic way. “What I witnessed in America when I arrived here in 1975 was how [the fashion industry] purposefully pitched black models against each other,” she recalled. “[The attitude was] you have to dethrone one to take the place of another, but we could see lots of top white models working at the same time.”

Moonshot News is an independent European news website for all IT, Media and Advertising professionals, powered by women and with a focus on driving the narrative for diversity, inclusion and gender equality in the industry.

Our mission is to provide top and unbiased information for all professionals and to make sure that women get their fair share of voice in the news and in the spotlight!

We produce original content, news articles, a curated calendar of industry events and a database of women IT, Media and Advertising associations.

    Do you want an experienced opinion on a job issue?
    Moonshot Manager is here to answer!

      Moonshot community sharing thoughts and ideas, in a anonymous, safe environment.