The conversation on diversity apparently started when model Shanina Shaik — whose father is Pakistani-Saudi Arabian and mother is Lithuanian-Australian — recalled how people discouraged her because of her skin color.
“I used to get bullied. I remember a girl sat across from me and told me that I wasn’t going to be able to model because of my skin color; I wasn’t going to be able to do high fashion.”
Shaik also recalled the lack of diversity at Milan Fashion Week, saying, “A lot of black girls have to miss Milan because…they don’t want girls of that color.”
Windsor, who seemed comfortable in the discussion, became aggravated when Asian-American model Ping Hue told her “I know it’s super hard to relate to.”
“No, we all go through hardships,” Windsor said. “I literally went through hell and literally lived in different countries every other month and didn’t speak that language, didn’t speak Paris, didn’t speak Italian, and I did that for like two years.”
Windsor’s remarks quickly sparked outrage on social media, with many pointing out that she cannot equate her hair struggles with problems faced by ethnic models.
Following the wave of criticism, Windsor issued her apology, saying that her comments were “incredibly insensitive.”
“I want to apologize for what I said. It goes without saying, that the comments in the show are incredibly insensitive,” Windsor wrote. “I have an immense amount of respect for my peers. I know the struggle of diversity and inclusion in my business as well as in so many others is not one to take lightly.”
“I made a comment in jest to infuse levity and I feel terrible that I have hurt others. I’m even more disappointed that my comments could lead anyone to believe that I have a prejudicial bias. I respect, honor and admire all of those breaking barriers and working to forge a new and inclusive community both in and outside of the modeling industry.”