This Model Is Getting Dragged for Comparing Racism to Getting Highlights

Everyone has their own personal struggles in life, but it's important to know that not all struggles are equal. Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor is learning this the hard way after ruffling all kinds of feathers on last week’s episode of the New York Fashion Week docuseries on E!, Model Squad. The show follows the lives, careers, and friendships of a crew of beauties, including Windsor, Olivia Culpo, Shanina Shaik, and Hannah Ferguson. At one point in the episode, Windsor chimes in on a conversation about diversity (or the lack thereof) in the modeling world. And many will agree — her comments were more than a little off.

When Shaik shared that she knows a lot of black models who’ve been turned down from walking in Milan Fashion Week, simply because designers did not want girls with their skin tone, Windsor became defensive and cried out that she too has faced similar challenges as a model. “I literally went through fucking hell,” she said, referencing her time working abroad in different countries, where, as she puts it, she “didn’t speak Paris or Italian.”

If that statement wasn’t head-scratching enough, Windsor dug herself deeper into a hole. Asian model Ping Hue spoke up, telling Windsor that she doesn’t think she can relate to the turmoils of being “different.” Windsor’s response was to lament about her struggle as a not-so-natural blonde. “Do you know how hard it is to be blonde?” she asked the group. According to Windsor, it’s pretty damn difficult, having to get her highlights retouched every single month. (Olaplex ain't cheap, y'all.) Hue replied succinctly: "Oh, my God, small violin."

Windsor has since apologized, but not before being dragged on social media for her remarks. Her statement, which she shared via Twitter, acknowledged that her comments were insensitive, but she added that much of the full conversation was edited and taken out of context. "I made a comment in jest to infuse levity and I feel terrible that I hurt others," she wrote. "I'm even more disappointed that my comments could lead anyone to believe I have prejudicial bias."

She went on to say that she has great respect for her peers and does not take the struggles around diversity and inclusion lightly. “I respect, honor and admire all those breaking barriers and working to forge a new and inclusive community both in and outside of the modeling industry.”

If anything, Windsor's ordeal is a reminder that those who exist in privileged spaces (if they are as keen to connect with those who experience systemic bias as they say) would do well to listen to the experiences of people different from them. It might be uncomfortable to hear that you benefit from an unfair system, but it is even more uncomfortable, for everyone, if you equate what is, at worst, an inconvenience with actual prejudice.

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