Jourdan Dunn is one of my favorite models, and she covers the latest issue of Elle UK. I think this is her first Elle UK cover, which is strange because she’s a very big-name model in the UK especially. Even though she’s one of my favorites, I really didn’t know much about her, like that she’s only 25 years old and she has a six-year-old son, Riley Dunn. Riley’s father went to jail shortly after Riley’s birth. The charge was possession of cocaine. Damn. When she spoke to Elle, she talked about balancing motherhood with a bustling modeling career, plus she has some stuff to say about diversity in the fashion industry. Some highlights:
On diversity in fashion: ‘There are definitely a lot more girls of colour being represented. But I also feel like we’re 100% still not there. I want to see us get to a place where seeing a black girl, anywhere, is not such a big deal. Why can’t it just be the norm to see black models in campaigns and on covers and runways? It’s still too much of a big thing when this happens.’
On social media regret: ‘People always ask me, “Do you regret saying this?” I don’t have any regrets. My agency used to tell me, “Can you take that down?” And I’m like, “No.” Why would I take that down? That’s how I feel, that’s how I felt and it is what it is.’
On being a mother: ‘The one thing about parenthood no one ever warns you about. They tell you about the sleepless nights, but no one ever warns you about the guilt. He was just in the hospital last month, but I’m fortunate that he’s quite well. So if something happens at work and I don’t get an opportunity, it’s fine. I’m not gonna cry about this stuff. I’ve got bigger things to think about, like my son and if he’s OK and keeping him out of the hospital. Ultimately, I look at it like this: I am my son’s lifeline. Mummy needs to work to put food on the table and pay his school fees. So I always keep that in the back of my mind.’
So, I had to look it up about why Riley was hospitalized – he has sickle cell disease. That’s some rough stuff, and I think it’s remarkable that Jourdan takes it all in stride, being a single mom and managing her career and business. As for her comments about diversity… I don’t have a problem with what she said. Jourdan is an in-demand model with runway, editorial and advertising work, but a lot of people in the fashion industry treat her like she’s a unicorn, or they think that if they hire her, that’s there one diversity hire and they don’t have to try to hire anyone else. Jourdan has been “the first” woman of color to front certain campaigns, magazine covers, etc, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Photos courtesy of Elle UK.