Armine Harutyunyan and Nyome Nicholas-Williams are two models that defy the centuries-long standards in fashion. And for defying society’s unrealistic expectations, they were bullied.
Harutyunyan is a 23-year old Armenian with long, black hair and a sharp, defined profile. One year ago, she participated in the Milan Fashion Week for the 2020 Spring/Summer collection of Gucci. Rumors spread that the young model was included in the “100 Sexiest Women” list by the luxury brand and the fake news caused an uproar. Online bullies commented on Harutyunyan’s pictures and posts, shaming her for her appearance.
She wasn’t criticized for her performance on the runaway, but for her looks. She looked different, with her thick eyebrows and her big ears, and people couldn’t let it go. The Fashion Week happened one year ago and the hate took Harutyunyan by surprise.
“I was the first Armenian model to parading for a big fashion brand: I felt the responsibility, the weight of the role,” Harutyunyan told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
Nyome Nicholas-Williams, 28, faced the same hate as the Armenian model, with the addition of Instagram’s censorship. After Williams posted the photo below on her page, the social media took it down. Instagram thought that the image wasn’t appropriate and a spokesperson dared to comment to Cosmopolitan UK that “[the platform] doesn’t allow breast squeezing as it is often associated with pornographic content, but we know we’ve made mistakes in how this has been enforced.”
Williams saw right through the weak explanations. How many white women post similar and sometimes even more explicit pictures? Yet, those posts aren’t censored.
“An image of me a fat black woman started a movement all the while I was just being myself but this is me, unapologetically,” she wrote on her post.
Williams has modelled for Adidas, Boots and Dove, challenging conventions and fat-shaming culture. With the #IWantToSeeNyome hashtag and the model’s petition to stop Instagram from censoring fat, Black women, Williams caused an uproar. She moved passed the bullies and the haters to send a message. So far, the petition on Change.org has reached 17.653 signatures with the ultimate goal of reaching 25.000.
“I was conditioned to think that anything that wasn’t close to whiteness wasn’t acceptable or beautiful. MY GOSH was I wrong,” Williams wrote on Instagram, “the power in my features alone speaks of my ancestors and the generational gift I’ve been given to have the face I do!”
Do you want to share more models like Williams and Harutyunyan? Do you want to stop the fashion industry from being so out of touch? Start by signing William’s petition HERE.