Former model Kereen Hurley may only be 23, but she's a veteran to discrimination in the modeling game. At just the age of 16, the U.K. based beauty began her modeling career then eventually became an agent, scouting her own talent. Hurley tells Refinery29 that the blatant colorism in the industry is what motivated her to start Choco Media Models - an agency exclusively for dark skinned women.
Hurley describes in detail the obstacles she's faced with booking her models, having black-girl-adept makeup artists for photoshoots, and battling with the 'only-one-black-girl-tokenism-policy'. Struggles that we've all heard time and time again out of the starving mouths of dark skinned black girl talent, just eager to be seen.
Much like DDS Magazine, Hurley has her work cut out for her telling Refinery29, "I'm working to get more mainstream eyes on my agency" with hope that the industry will "take notice and evolve". Yet even if they don't, we hope that Hurley continues strong in her mission, eventually forcing the mainstream to come to her. After all, it's only a matter of time before dark skinned women will get fed up and begin to look/create elsewhere for representation. Now is the time to secure a spot in that revolution and certainly while social media is busy cultivating a new generation, influencing, and in some cases, replacing mass media.
Like Hurleys', there are many online platforms emerging and beautifully saturating the internet with fresh, dark skinned female talent and I couldn't be more excited. It proves that we are increasingly paying dust to the media, standing in our beauty and taking the spotlight that we deserve. It is my hope that we join together in the future, take it a step further and really give the mainstream a run for their money with our own networks.
DDS Magazine commends Kereen Hurley and Choco Media Models for joining us in challenging the status quo and creating a much needed exclusive space for dark skinned models. We wish you much success with your endeavors and hope to see you at the top.
Be sure to follow Choco Media Models for updates.