A lack of diversity negatively affects marginalized communities, which include racial, religious, ethnic, and LGBTQ+ minorities, differently-abled individuals, and women. This misrepresentation is a prevalent issue and plays a significant role in society. When it comes to fashion and media, the audience it hopes to target is quite vast and heavily impacted by it; depending on the context, it could be either positive or negative. It broadens our perception of multiculturalism and the world and holds an educational impact, making representation a crucial element.
The 19-year-old French model Naomi Ekindi did not see many like her, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community, making a name for themselves or dominating fashion and mainstream media headlines. That is why she is adamant about becoming a face of representation and amplifying minorities’ voices to promote a diverse and multifaceted society.
The idea of equal representation has been a foreign concept in major fashion circles and brands for eons. The focus has majorly been on promoting the “white, thin, and cis-gendered” norms and advocating for those who fit the defined standard of beauty. Naomi did not pay much attention to being a model growing up because she believed she didn’t fit the set criteria. Not because there weren’t any colored models but because there was not enough appropriate representation in the modeling industry.
Since becoming a model, Naomi has opened for high-fashion brands, including Dior, Missoni, Giambattista Valli, etc., flourishing to the top. This feat has given her a chance to become a figure among her thousands of followers, including the colored and queer youth and the lost kids of the generation, to break away from conforming roles, and know that they can achieve great things as well.
Even though there has been a change in recent years, which was long overdue, Naomi believes there still needs to be more representation and is willing to give her all to make an influential difference. Naomi is a strong proponent of representation because it matters; it helps an individual develop a sense of self, higher self-efficacy, and self-esteem, allowing them to feel validated and valued and express themselves comfortably.
In the modeling industry, equal and correct representation permits a creative environment where diverse ideas and perspectives come together to make art. And that’s what Naomi precisely strives to promote. Within only one year, she has touched and inspired many lives, with people telling her that she has encouraged them to accomplish more.
The future looks promising for Naomi Ekindi, and we can’t wait to see more of her and how she changes the world.