All in all, our audition experience was relatively uneventful. However, previous open calls have come with their fair share of scandal. Just this past March, aleaked email regarding a casting call in Los Angeles demanded only “Real models. Not Instagram hoes or THOTs [That Hoe Over There].” Eventually, the third-party modeling agency that sent the email took the blame, but said that the content of the message was based on American Apparel’s new model standards. An American Apparel employee supported the claim, stating that AA’s senior vice president of marketing, Cynthia Erland, prefers white models over 5 feet 7 inches.
Black employees have spoken up about the racismthey’ve faced in their stores, and one look at American Apparel ads shows the lack of diversity in the company’s campaigns. The team behind the new campaign clearly recognized that fault and addressed it in their rebranding slideshow by discussing their target audience—”millennials”—but the photo they chose, of all-white models, completely misses the mark [emphasis ours]:
Based on what we saw at the casting call, American Apparel absolutely has the opportunity to rectify its past mistakes: The company has a diverse pool of models to pick from, and can choose to style and photograph them in a way that is “confident and naturally beautiful” without relying on blatant nudity and sexually inappropriate poses. Furthermore, the company is right in assuming that its “millennial” target market “value[s] social issues”—such as not objectifying women to sell a product.