This is my series devoted to the real life models who became Rootstein mannequins.
Now I am focusing on the range of racially diverse mannequins Rootstein produced along with a backstory of the real person they were modeled after. My collector is providing me with the catalog images and some historical information and I am filling in with info that I found online.
This is Irene Major who was released in Drama Diva series in 2005. Irene is from Cameroon and there are 3 reasons why she is a departure from the usual crop of Rootstein Mannequins.
First she was not a significant runway or editorial model in the way that 80% of the female mannequins that Rootstein selected were.
Secondly, she along with Margaret Tapping and Mounia were very dark brown in skin tone. Usually Rootstein favored very light brown to very fair skinned African American mannequins
Lastly, Irene’s facial features are very prominently African – full lips, broad nose. Rootstein – like the fashion industry in general – doesn’t give models who look like this a lot of opportunities.
I wonder if her experience as a dark skin model impacted her decision to use skin lightening creams to dramatic lightening her skin as you can see in the photos of her now.
Irene says in the attached interview the lightening the skin is no different than changing your hair color (or hair texture it seems by the wigs she is wearing).
Somehow changing one’s skin color doesn’t seem in the same league as changing one’s hair color. But I’ll leave it up to you to decide. I just want to provide the facts and minimize my opinions about the issue.
Here is the interview: http://irenemajor.co.uk/major-musings/skin-lightening/
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