Instagram model Shudu Gram has over 43 thousand followers on Instagram, skyrocketing into fame after Fenty Beauty reposted a photo of her modeling the Saw-C lipstick color. However, there’s a slight problem: she isn’t real.
Shudu’s Instagram was created by London-based digital artist Cameron-James Wilson. With the use of 3D imaging, Wilson created the dark-skinned model and built an Instagram page dedicated to her soulful eyes, long physique, dark skin and modelesque photos.
"Basically Shudu is my creation, she’s my art piece that I am working on at the moment," Wilson told Refinery 29. "She is not a real model unfortunately, but she represents a lot of the real models of today. There’s a big kind of movement with dark skin models, so she represents them and is inspired by them. Obviously some models like Duckie [Thot] were definitely big inspirations for her as well.”
After followers discovered the secret behind Shudu, Wilson changed her bio to read “World’s First Digital Supermodel.”
According to Refinery 29, Shudu’s true classification as non-human rubbed many the wrong way. Wilson, a white man, created a black woman who he was hiring out for contracts while many real dark-skinned models continue to be underrepresented in the modeling industry. Shudu is an unrealistic expectation to live up to, and now real women will be forced to compete with women who can be created to fit any shape a client may want.
Many took to Twitter to address their complaints, saying:
A white photographer figured out a way to profit off of black women without ever having to pay one. Now pls, tell me how our economic system is in no way built on and quite frankly reliant on racism and misogyny 🤧🤔 https://t.co/k7tDc7cXLL— ur local asshole✨💛✨ (@hodayum) February 27, 2018
Black models, specifically dark skin Black models are not a trend though. We should be the norm. Ok. Even though Shudu is a beautiful digital creation, I hope that he can shoot with real dark skin Black models and pay them accordingly too. https://t.co/2FGTZ2IoEm— 𝔟ecca (@MJFinesseLover) February 27, 2018
As much as I appreciate art I detest the fact that the minute dark skin is finally glamourized by the mainstream media a white man finds a way to commericalize & capitalize off it. Black skin is not a trend. Black skin is not a toy. Black women even more not so. #Shudu #FreeShudu pic.twitter.com/pu79IGcU1s— Sonia Pratt (@adrianette_) February 28, 2018By creating Shudu, has this photographer raised the expectations of black perfection and lessened the chances of real black models being hired? Share your thoughts below.