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The Model In The ‘Racist’ Dove Ad Speaks Out

Cosmopolitan logo Cosmopolitan 11-10-2017

© Provided by Cosmopolitan [EN-AU] Following the mass backlash that Dove has received for their 'racist' ad campaign, and their swift response to issue an apology and erase any trace of the video, one of the ad’s stars has come out in support for the skincare brand.

Lola Ogunyemi, an Atlanta-raised model of Nigerian descent, has written an essay for The Guardian since the campaign’s seemingly negative message became widespread. She had explained that she jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the campaign to represent all dark-skinned females, but wasn’t expecting it to have such a negative effect. “I had been excited to be a part of the commercial and promote the strength and beauty of my race, so for it to be met with widespread outrage was upsetting.”

Overwhelmed by the controversy, Ogunyemi assured that she wouldn’t have agreed to participate if she had any inclination that she, and other dark-skinned women, would be portrayed as inferior. “I would have been the first to say an emphatic “no”. I would have (un)happily walked right off set and out of the door. That is something that goes against everything I stand for.”

In defence of Dove, the model assured that her experience with the brand, and on-set, was nothing but positive, assuring that ad’s concept was clearly communicated- using the models’ differences to unite them in idea that all skin deserves gentleness. “I remember all of us being excited at the idea of wearing nude T-shirts and turning into one another. We weren’t sure how the final edit was going to look, nor which of us would actually be featured in it, but everyone seemed to be in great spirits during filming, including me.” Dove had also referred to their intention in a release they had made following the ad's negative reception.

She also goes on to explain that what a lot of people are seeing when Googling “racist ad” is only a small snippet of a longer piece, stating that there were many other ethnicities also represented in the full campaign. “There were seven of us in the full version, different races and ages, each of us answering the same question: “If your skin were a wash label, what would it say?”. There was even an ad posted to Facebook previous to this which also included an Asian woman.

Ogunyemi closed her essay acknowledging how the ad may have been misinterpreted on the basis of backlash Dove has experienced in the past, critiquing them for a lack of context when releasing the campaign, but she still believes that the brand should have defended their vision and their inclusion of her in the ad: “I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased.”

(Provided by People)


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