“What the fuck, you put just one black girl in to make sure you’ve ticked a box? Like, do you go to London, to Paris, to New York? I think you see as many black and Asian people there as white people”
– Olivier Rousteing, Creative Director, Balmain
Nafisa Kaptownwala from London is one global citizen putting her foot down and saying no, something’s got to change in the modelling world when it comes to cultural diversity. Lorde Inc, is her modelling agency and her contribution to the matter. Created specifically to book models of many colours — with a focus on humans that break commercial and mainstream hierarchies — even gap-teeth and freckles are on Lorde Inc’s radars, actually. For Nafisa, Lorde Inc is a space to challenge non-mainstream standards of beauty and here at Serum, we’re all for it.
What was happening in your world the day you decided to create a modelling agency with a focus on ethnic diversity?
I just graduated from art school and saw a lot of my contemporaries on the come up and none of them were shooting people of color. Thought it was pretty wack, so I wanted to challenge them on it.
Who are your favourite people to follow on Instagram and why?
@TRUSTMEDADDY cause she’s just bossy, smart, cute and brown. @ANONOMYSS she’s just in love with herself, and it’s so nice to see someone so into celebrating themselves to their friends. @COM.PASSION she unearths the myspace/nexopia/asianavenue aesthetics that you probably thought was the early 2000s’ trash, but it’s actually pretty cute (mostly jokes). Special shoutouts to @KUKUIUO and @BADGALRIRI. This list was so hard to put together! There are too many to count.
How do you feel, or find yourself reacting when you’re in mainstream spaces and there are occurrences that make you feel the need to rectify or correct stereotypes or discourse you know is wrong or racist or ignorant…
I honestly I don’t have the patience in dealing with the fuckery. In the past I’ve tried to correct people, ended up in huge arguments (see: white fragility) and tears. Now I just don’t play. If you’re gonna pull some really ignorant/hurtful shit you may as well be dead to me. But if I love you and you’re really apart of my life, I’ll talk it out, but most of the people in my life are 100 and I don’t really have to have those talks. They wouldn’t be in my life if I did.
Are people receiving your agency the way you’d like them to?
I think the people that get it are the only people I want to fuck with anyways. So yeah, the reception has been better than great!
What are your goals/vision for Lorde Inc?
I just wanted to create a space where people of color could feel safe and welcome to participate in. So far it’s been so good.
The more present we are, the less we’re seen as like a side piece, then our narratives will be front and center and taken seriously.
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