To be black and a model in the UK is a very big challenge, says Cherelle-Rose Patterson, Miss Jamaica UK 2013.
While in the US black models are widely accepted and frequently hired by big companies, in the UK it is the opposite. “Most clients’ criteria is either European or someone with blonde hair or blue eyes or if you are lucky tanned but not black. And I’d say that is for about 90% of clients and especially the big companies,” says Ms Patterson.
She is however, determined to keep fighting for rights of black models in the UK. “I’m not a quitter, I will keep fighting,” says Ms Patterson.
To those who keep isolating black models from major fashion events, she says: “We will keep on fighting until you realise we are equally as beautiful as other women in this world. We need a diverse range of models on catwalks and in campaigns. Add some beautiful colour to your runways and photos.”
Aware of how difficult it is for black models to make it in the UK, many of Ms Patterson’s friends wonder why she sticks to modelling. Her answer is quite simple – hard work pays.
Here’s an exclusive interview Ms Patterson granted The AfroNews.
Ms Patterson, how did it feel to win the Miss Jamaica UK 2013 crown?
It was honestly a dream come true and absolutely humbling. The competition was fierce and I could only do my best and it paid off. I feel extremely proud of myself and to represent my home.
Since becoming Miss Jamaica UK 2013, what have you been doing?
I have had endless opportunities and it’s just the beginning of the year. I have butterflies thinking about what’s to come for the rest of the year. I have travelled to Africa and done many interviews and magazine shoots.
Last December you participated at the World Finals of the Exquisite Face of the Universe International Model Competition in Lagos, Nigeria. How did it go?
It was a life experience. It was amazing. I made friends for life from all over the world and truly enjoyed the welcoming African culture and the hot weather. It’s amazing to interact with other cultures within the black community.
Why did you choose to become a model?
I enjoy it, I’m passionate about it. Modelling is beautiful and artistic. It’s amazing to see how one person can be transformed into so many different characters, I think it’s quite mind blowing.
For how long have you been modelling?
I have been modelling since I was 18 on and off and when I reached early 20’s I realised how serious I wanted to take it.
How does it feel to be a model?
Fab! It’s great to inspire people through photos. It encourages me to stay in shape also which I love.
There are so many beautiful black models but we hardly see them in major fashion shows, magazine covers and in advertisements, especially in the UK. Why do you think this happens?
I’m not sure why this happens. Black women are so amazingly beautiful, their bone structure, their great skin, their muscle tone, everything. I think the UK society has their definition of beauty and unfortunately they believe we are not it.
What’s the part of your body you like most and why?
I love my legs, they are long but I’d have to say my smile, my dad has given me his big teeth but I have a massive smile that I absolutely love, a great smile can get someone through their day.
What do you like most about yourself?
I like the fact that I’m so giving.
What’s your favourite food?
I love prawns.
What are your career and personal ambitions?
I would love to continue to inspire black women to follow their dreams. I’d love to get into the fitness industry and show women how being fit and healthy can be extremely important in their lives.
What are the qualities of your ideal man?
Tall, dark and handsome with a great sense of humour and loyalty.
Any advice to those aspiring to become models?
It’s a very competitive industry but don’t let that stop you from following your dreams. Find your unique selling point and use it.
Full Name: Cherelle Rose Patterson
Date of birth: 25/09/89
Place of birth: London
Dress size: 8
Shoe size: 6
Eyes: Dark brown
Hair colour: Light brown
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a
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