Model Jourdan Dunn: Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss get paid more than me

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Black models are still few and far between. However, even when those Black models are in demand, they are being paid much less than their white counterparts. Model Jourdan Dunn is speaking up about it. In a conversation with TTYA Podcast, Jourdan discussed how she knows she gets paid much less than her besties, models Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne, for the same jobs. Jourdan has concluded that the only explanation for this is racism. Jourdan also talked about the power of using her voice and commanding what she is worth. Below are a few more highlights from the TTYA podcast via The Sun:

Jourdan, who has starred in high-fashion campaigns across the globe, said: “Even for me now it’s just owning your voice and knowing your worth.

“I remember the girls I came up with, like my best friends in the industry, Cara and Karlie, I know their rate was different to my rate, even though we were doing the same jobs.

“When I think about that it’s so f****d up, like what is the difference? But clearly the difference is the skin tone.

“But now I know my worth and I’m going to ask for it.”

She explained: “Backstage at shows, Chanel would say if she didn’t like something with her hair and make-up.

“I would normally just hold it in and then be in the bathroom and try to change it as I didn’t want to offend anyone.

“But seeing her do that, I realised at the end of the day I am a brand and I need to look a certain way and I need to make sure I look good in a way that’s not disrespectful.”

Jourdan said: “Now when I have the creative direction of being able to choose who I want on shoots, I always make sure I bring on black young creatives.”

Jourdan, who was the first black British model to make the Forbes models rich list in 2014, explained: “If you have an audience, it’s important to speak out if you have something to say, but be mindful about the way in which it comes across.

“I’m learning as I go along with social media it’s all about the way you use it.”

[From The Sun]

I grew up in the 80s and 90s when the term “supermodel” became a thing. There were five supermodels who graced the international fashion magazines, including Naomi Campbell. Back then, Naomi was supported by the other models who, according to legend, wouldn’t walk the runway if Naomi was left out. Those five ladies banned together and fought for fairness. I personally believe that is true girl power. Black women are undervalued and underpaid every day. Lowballing Black women when they do the exact same work and command the same attention is abuse and it is also why Black communities continue to struggle.

Black women need to know they are worthy enough to be paid the same as everyone else with the same experience doing the same job. We must advocate for ourselves and if we are not properly compensated be willing to walk away. I know this is easier said than done because most of us depend on these jobs to pay our bills. I applaud Jourdan for speaking out and speaking her truth. Jourdan, like many other Black creatives on this side of the pond, is holding these industries to account. I hope that Jourdan will set the tone of hiring and pay practices as it concerns WOC in the modelling industry. I also hope that by speaking up, Jourdan will empower other Black women in the industry to take a stand and demand equal pay. I look forward to seeing what Jourdan does with her platform. In the meantime, I am gonna go reminisce about the supermodels of my day by watching Naomi Campbell’s Youtube channel.

Embed from Getty Images

Jourdan Dunn at Tommy Hilfiger AW20 Runway during London Fashion Week February 2020 - London, UK 16/02/2020

Jourdan Dunn attends The Fashion Awards 2019 at The Royal Albert Hall. London, UK. 02/12/2019

photos credit: Avalon.red and Getty

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53 Responses to “Model Jourdan Dunn: Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss get paid more than me”

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  1. Lauren says:

    Some of the super models around right now are just there because of nepotism. They get to ask for more, work less and chose projects. It’s so unfair that talented models of very diverse backgrounds don’t get the same privilege. Dunn is absolutely gorgeous, famous, does well as a runway and editorial model. She should be paid the same as her white peers.

    • Silver Charm says:

      I’d argue *most* of the highest paid ate nepotism models: Cara, Kaia, Gigi, Bella, Kendall, Suki, Haley etc.

      • hmmmmpppy says:

        Yeah. This is a complicated case. If they were paid more than her when they were all starting out that is effed up, but if she is talking about now or recently – of course they are paid more , they are significantly more famous and bring more value to the brands as a result.

    • Nlopez says:

      +100 Lauren!

  2. Nev says:

    Ughhhhhhhh
    Go on Jourdan!!!
    I am
    Gonna go watch Naomi too. QUEEN.

  3. Eleonor says:

    Kudos to her for speaking up.
    Naomi Campbell has always stated her collegues were all on her side and fought for her.

  4. Amy Bee says:

    I didn’t know she was British.

  5. Alissa says:

    I certainly don’t disagree that she faces a lot of racism in modeling, especially when you consider that a lot of the really well-known models are very white and very blonde. but I would argue that Cara and Karlie are very well known names at this point, and the only reason that I know Jourdan’s name is because she occasionally pops up on their Instagrams. so it’s not that surprising to me that they get paid more. I don’t think that makes them better models than her or discounts the fact that even if she had the same name recognition she would likely still be paid less because she’s black. The modeling industry is still really behind in terms of major models being people of color.

    • Veronica S. says:

      I think that’s likely a reciprocal issue. Not only are there likely more white models with family connections that give them leg up, it’s also that colorism in the industry dictates more opportunities overall, which leads to more exposure and more name recognition, etc, etc. Most models outside the big names are already underpaid and exploited. I can’t imagine how much harder it gets for those women when they have to compete with racism on top of it.

      Well, actually, we don’t have to imagine. She’s telling us exactly how messed up it is.

  6. Watson says:

    I love her. She’s an excellent model!! Much better than Karlie Kloss in my opinion. As an aside I follow her on Instagram and love her recipes she makes. They are never ever boring!

  7. LeonsMomma says:

    A model’s rate is dictated by her agency, so maybe she should be calling them out directly for bad negotiation.
    The fee is mostly based on name recognition/longevity in the business and at what level, and Jourdan is not at Cara and Karlie level in those ways. (I never heard of Jourdan until now.)

    That said, she is not wrong about racism in the industry, and lord, can we get past the bland nepotism models.

    • lanne says:

      Jourdan was a top model before Cara and hit a few years before Karlie. They were walking the same shows together (when Jourdan was cast at all–the 2000s was a grim time for non white models.) The 1990s supermodel era ended when designers thought the models were taking too much attention from the designs. So they went the opposite direction and started bringing in nameless lookalike girls, mostly from eastern europe, who were then exploited terribly b/c they had no power. Jourdan was one of the few black models who walked major shows in the 2000s, and she should have had the same rates at Karlie. Do the same work, get paid the same amount of money. This is pre social media era, too. So the fact that Karlie/Cara are more “known” now has nothing to do with Jourdann’s point.

      In 2008-2010, Jourdan was not paid what Karlie was paid. She should have been. There should not have been a “hot white model” rate and a “hot black model” rate. Even now, with social media, day rates of models shouldn’t be based on race. That’s a pretty horrifying idea. You can make a case for longevity, or even social media engagement, but those are measurable indicators that don’t have anything to do with race. And Jourdan is talking about her entire career, not 2021.

      • LeonsMomma says:

        @Ianne
        Thank you for your insight.
        And, I don’t disagree with your points.

        But if a model has an inept booker at her agency and inept management, she isn’t going to make the same amount of money.

        When models are hired, there is a different base rate for what they are doing, which is set up by the modeling agency and/or management (depending on what it is.) Her team should have pushed for more money. Obviously, they didn’t because here we are.

  8. Siggy says:

    I haven’t seen her before. I wonder if her exposure and work were the same as the other two? Then because of racial bias the white girls got more exposure and then more jobs?

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Jourdan Dunn has had a contract doing major campaigns with Estee Lauder for years.

    • lanne says:

      Yes. Her work and exposure was the same as those two.

      • LeonsMomma says:

        She didn’t have a high-profile friendship with Taylor Swift or is Trump adjacent, nor come from a well-connected British family (the white media loves an eccentric white family) who has high-profile romances.

        So no, her exposure was not the same.

  9. Grace says:

    Maybe some of you should be asking yourselves why you haven’t hear of Jourdan but know the nepotism white models instead of blaming her being chronically undervalued and underpaid the way we KNOW black and Latina women generally are

    • Alissa says:

      she doesn’t have anywhere close to the same name recognition at the other two, so of course she’s not paid the same.

      that’s not her fault, and there’s a larger conversation to be had about WHY she doesn’t have the same name recognition.

      but a better comparison would be if she said that Martha Hunt was paid a lot more than her for the same jobs.

      • MellyMel says:

        Her and Martha Hunt are NOT on the same level. She came up with Cara and Karlie and has the same amount of name recognition as them, for those of us who keep up with fashion and models.

      • Alissa says:

        @Mellymel my point is that even those that DON’T keep up with modelling and fashion know Cara and Karlie’s name. … hence, they have more name recognition. just because she started around the same time doesn’t mean she has the same recognition.

      • Case says:

        @Alissa I agree. Martha is known for being a model, same as Jourdan. Both women lack “celebrity status” outside of that, unlike Cara and Karlie who are well known for their friendships and relationships with celebrities. Karlie also has Code with Klossy, while Cara has had a bunch of acting gigs, so they’re known through several different avenues beside modeling.

    • SheaButterBaby says:

      THANK YOU, Grace! These comments are not it. Let’s not bend over backwards to discount her words. White models are always pushed to the forefront because of racial bias.

    • Gail Hirst says:

      May I just say that to me, in my personal opinion, Ms. Dunn is “prettier” ie: more attractive
      than either Cara or Karlie.
      Jourdan is graceful and elegant in a way the other two girls are not. They both look very “hard” to me. I’m sorry, my words may not be describing what I want to say accurately,
      Grace is correct IMO …
      Please don’t deny a woman’s lived experience. More importantly, when a POC tells you her/his/their experience..it’s THEIR story, their experience ~ #Ibelieveher

  10. Ohlala says:

    She should shut up a bit tbh. Her rates are the agency problem..also she was everywhere. In Europe at least she was promoted a lot! In editorials etc etc. I think she is a shitty person as anyone who went to Saudi Arabia and took dirty money for promoting it. She is off in my books

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      No she shouldn’t shut up. She has a right to say what she believes is affecting her in her career the same as anyone else. Telling someone you don’t know to shut up is very insulting especially considering the implication of what she’s talking about in this case. Your attitude is part of the problem and thank goodness there are people out there tough enough to ignore your attitude and speak up for themselves and others.

  11. Yup, Me says:

    Jourdan is stunning and these are the conversations we need to be having- Black women knowing their worth and pushing the boundaries so they can thrive on equal (and equitable) footing in our industries.

  12. Ohreally says:

    It’s because of that bias that the others were pushed to the front ahead of her. The mental gymnastics to say she has less name recognition when it proves her point. I know who she is because I am interested in fashion and she’s been prominent for ages (see Forbes). This is exactly what Viola Davis was describing. Doing the actual work, but still having others chosen and paid more. Cara Delevingne is not even the normal height for a model and the word on the street is that her well connected family got her foot in the door. Essentially, this proves that her besties don’t have her back at the same level as Naomi. They’re associates. It’s also a different time. This is the same story for a plethora of industries for the Black woman (and most of BIPOC). Automatic worth is given to non BIPOC, and the rest have to meet some imaginary goal that’s constantly transforming. Same story. Same ending.

    • Courtney B says:

      I thought this as well. I know her name because of gossip and entertainment sites and magazines. But, while she certainly has contracts like Estée Lauder and scored major covers, it certainly didn’t bring her the jobs that would have given her wider name recognition. A lot of runway and editorial models don’t have big name recognition. They get it from the showier contracts, gigs and more mainstream covers (ie Marie Claire) rather than Vogue. Most of the highest earners are in the Victoria Secret world and she did that only briefly. She was one of the highest earners only in 2014 and then just fell off while Karlie leapfrogged. And by 2016 it was an imstamodel era. But she’s one of the world’s top models, even walking in the British Olympics celebration of British designers alongside Kate Moss. You don’t get that by being a just okay model. And it’s also a separate issue from saying she got paid less for the *same* jobs or campaigns.

      And in case anyone is wondering, ‘Chanel’ is referring to Chanel Iman.

    • Oya says:

      I Was gonna point out that those women are NOT her friends, Thank you for doing it for me.

  13. J ferber says:

    That sucks. She is so gorgeous!

  14. Anna says:

    And white women need to stand up for BIPOC and Black women in particular much more instead of just accepting the racist practices that benefit them. Look at how Jessica Chastain has stood up for Octavia Spencer who, even with an Oscar and all of her accolades, has still been underpaid and couldn’t get justice until Jessica stepped in. As with all matters, white people listen to white people. They do not listen to us. Black people are not and should not be the ones who have to fix racism and its systemic toxicity. Do the right thing, white folks. Stand up for your BIPOC colleagues and make sure that they are not being thrown under the bus. I’m so sick of working my ass off and everyone who experiences my work raving about it and yet year after year I struggle to make ends meet and even with a promotion, the powers that be chopped off a part of my past raise without any accountability. White supremacy (and the BIPOC henchmen who support it) is a fucking racket.

  15. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I think the pay algorithm is a bit deeper than skin color, but it’s most certainly a part of it. Who knows what a brand is specifically and exactly looking for regarding any particular line and which season given current social and political snapshots? It’s a marketing formula determined by way of manipulating a variety of demographic data and analytics.

    I fully stand behind models locking arms and daring red rover red rover let such and such company come over lol. Algorithms can be altered.

  16. Case says:

    I don’t doubt her experience whatsoever and absolutely think race is a huge part of it, but I also feel like Cara and Karlie have sorta made themselves celebrities separate from modeling? Karlie is a Kushner and made being Taylor Swift’s BFF part of her brand for a long time. Cara is an actress and sorta known for being a socialite beyond her work. I feel like a lot of celebrity gossip people know the other two women for things other than modeling, while I honestly haven’t heard Jourdan’s name come up before in the celebrity realm. Perhaps that name recognition outside of fashion gets Cara and Karlie a step ahead (in addition to the nepotism and whiteness).

    • Anna says:

      “Made themselves” or were made? See @lanne below… It’s about who’s given space, who’s promoted, who’s afforded spotlight. Everything Black women have, they had to get through endless, exhausting labor and never stopping no matter how many white people questioned their validity or whether they should be there, and believe me, those questions never stop no matter how big you get. Fashion is a wild west industry and white people are afforded all of the benefits of white supremacy in that industry as in all others.

  17. lanne says:

    Sigh. I really wish people would google Jourdann before immediately questioning her veracity. Most of us are women here. Aren’t we sick to death of people immediately doubting us when we state our truth, and saying we “must be wrong?” Why do we continually do this with black women? Maybe you haven’t heard of Jourdan yourself, but what about a quick google search before you immediately respond with “I haven’t heard of her but I’ve heard of Cara and Karlie, therefore Jourdan is wrong!”

    For once, I’d love it if someone responded to an article like this by saying, “Hmm. Who is Jourdan Dunn?” Go to Wikipedia even, then come back and comment. Is it really so hard to believe that white models and black models aren’t paid the same? Would any of you be okay with being paid differently from your colleagues because your colleagues have more social media followers? And yes, I know that most of our jobs aren’t contigent on that, but neither was Jourdans throughout the early stages of her career! There was a time when she was a well-established model with a stellar record and she was being paid less than newcomers. Cara is short, and before Karlie learned how to walk, she was a train wreck on the runway–no big deal, models learn to walk by walking on runways.

    What was cool about Naomi in her day is that Christy and Linda wouldn’t work if designers didn’t include Naomi–those women stood up for each other, but models had power in the 1990s in a way that they didn’t in the 2000s.

    Women talking openly about money is how we start to acknowedge and correct pay discrepancies. No, she doesn’t need to shut up. Yes, she knows damn well what her agencies day rates are. Because she wasn’t getting them. that’s the point. No, she didn’t need to be “grateful” that she was working at all. Like anyone, like all of us, we ALL need to be paid fairly for the work that we do.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Well said, lanne. Why on earth should Jourdan be expected to be “grateful” to be paid a fraction of what her peers earn? The only ones who benefit from her being quiet are those who also benefit from underpaying Black models *for the same work as white models.*

      ETA: People need to remember that part of why Cara & Karlie are more widely known (to some–many of us knew about Jourdan) is that gatekeepers in the fashion industry like Anna Wintour choose their favorites to feature & promote. And Anna’s favorites have been overwhelmingly white, historically. Ask Andre Leon Talley what it’s like once Anna Wintour decides you’re done in that business.

    • Oya says:

      This! I remember when she first hit the scene. I just knew she would be the next Naomi.

      • Sarah says:

        I agree and someone can correct me but didn’t Naomi cosign her? I’m not that big into fashion anymore and I KNEW who Jordan Dunn was when she came out.

    • Anna says:

      This x 1000000000 @lanne

  18. Beach Dreams says:

    Some of you are really showing your asses here. Jourdan was a huge name when she came out in the late 2000s and has been one of the few models from that era to keep a steady and thriving career. At one point she was the ONLY black model getting regular spots on the runway and high fashion shoots. Instead of throwing out inane excuses like “she hasn’t built a celebrity status like Karlie and Cara”, why don’t you just admit that you only pay attention to white celebrities in the first place? So many of you don’t give black or nonwhite celebs/public figures a second glance unless they’re JLo or Beyonce, and it’s clear you don’t want to acknowledge that uncomfortable truth. Admitting your unconscious biases is the first step to recognizing your ignorance.

    • Robin says:

      I am familiar with all three of these models. The one I follow the most, or find most interesting, is Jourdan. Why? Because I like her look and her modelling, always have. I have read a lot of articles about her and interviews. The one I follow the least is Cara’s. A while back she was touted as the new Kate Moss but it really didn’t take off and I don’t care for her look or her campaigns. Karlie is everywhere. To me she is bland. This is my take from reading and subscribing to fashion magazines for years.

    • Anna says:

      x 10000000 @Beach Dreams

    • SheaButterBaby says:

      YES BEACH DREAMS!!! 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

  19. Ann says:

    I have heard of all of them, but I am not familiar with them as models because I haven’t seen their work in that regard. I guess I don’t see the right magazines or look at the right sites. I know Cara mainly because of her “celebrity” status, showing up at red carpet events, hanging around with Taylor Swift and being papped, etc. Also because I saw her on that Show “Carnival Row,” which I actually liked. Pandemic stopped filming S2 and now I wonder if it’s coming back.

    The pay system in that business is messed up, I am sure. And race has something to do with it. But it’s probably complicated. Like others have said, Cara isn’t being paid just for showing off clothes on her body. She’s being paid for fame and fame is measured in many ways these days.

  20. Veronica S. says:

    I always thought she was one of the loveliest women in her generation of models. I mean, damn, look at the leg real estate she’s serving up in that dress. 😂

    I’m unfortunately not surprised to find out the racial pay gap exists even at that level, though. You have to figure it goes through so many levels, too: socioeconomic disparities from that start that often give certain white models an advantage, colorism that provides more opportunities for white models on runways and photoshoots, subconscious and unrecognized (or recognized and just unspoken) bias that exists on the part of the agent or the fashion company when it comes to negotiating pay for non-white models. That’s a lot of places for society to fail these women, and too often, it does.

  21. MA says:

    I never understood the hype with Karlie who is very “cute Midwestern girl next door” but without her height wouldn’t get a second glance. Or Cara whose looks are somewhat more memorable but not really beautiful. Let’s be real, Cara would not be a model or actress without her aristocratic background and connections. Especially not at her height and no, she is no Kate Moss.

    Jourdann on the other hand is actually BEAUTIFUL, and unlike the others could have absolutely held her own among the 90s supermodel bombshells. I remember she came up with Karlie as the new generation of supermodels and always wondered what happened to her career. I’m a bit stunned by the comments here because anyone who pays attention to fashion knows who she is.

  22. Concern Fae says:

    I’m very curious to see how all of this shakes out going forward. In the knitting world, there has been a real move towards being more inclusive. One of the great things about it is that shitty magazines and yarn companies which ripped off and/or didn’t pay their white designers are now finding themselves boycotted, with yarn store refusing to stock their products for not paying their BIPoc designers. Hoping it’s a new and better world for everyone.

    And Jourdan should get her coin.

  23. Sarah says:

    I’m going to implore everyone to watch the latest No Filter with Naomi where she discusses this exact same issue with Iman:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8xDM5NxKG0

  24. observing says:

    Jordan Dunn seems to have a more interesting look, I think. She has the kind of look I’d associate with a model.

    I can see why Kloss is successful since her height is rather striking, but I’m a little surprised Cara Develigne would be paid so well. She’s kind of boring to look at. The disparity in pay in that instance does seem unfair when I compare faces and how that would translate in a high fashion magazine or even walking down a runway.

    Jourdan Dunn should be paid her true value because she definitely does have the kind of striking quality I tend to associate with models at a certain level.

    • lanne says:

      Karlie is actually too tall for modeling—she’s 6ft 3 and models are generally 5ft 9 to 5ft 11. Cara is 5 ft 7. Karlie was a successful model long before Kushner, and Cara is also a successful model with lots of campaigns before she turned to acting. Karlie and Cara are known more for celebrity these days, but when it comes to modeling work, Karlie, Cara, and Jourdan all pulled their weight equally. They did the same work. They had the same level of success while working as models. They should have gotten the same pay.

  25. Jesus says:

    I think Karlie is very beautiful. Very striking face, great walk, AMAZING in editorials. I understand her hype. Same for Jourdan – lovely, great at her job, and seems very well liked by her peers. Its kinda wild to think Cara, who is terrible both as a model and actress, and clearly didnt take her job seriously is a peer to them. I mean ofc I get why Jourdan named her but lol I had to complain.
    And some people REALLY showed their asses here, yikes. And let me say – before becoming BFFs with Swift, Karlie Kloss was no mainstream housename either, and yet she still made more money than Jourdan. Wonder why. Oh right. Bet its simply Jourdan’s agency fault…. eye roll. (And in that topic: idk how good agency is but they will not dictate her fees alone. No agent in any industry does. No one will “overcharge”, to put it that way, at the risk of their client simply not being hired anymore. If the industry feels a model is charging more than theyre worth, they simply will pick another one. Its a cruel thing. And everyone knows black women,in all fields, are way underpaid. Get your heads out of ur a**es. )