Model in ‘Racist’ Dove Ad Says She is “Not a Victim”

Loa Ogunyemi, the Nigerian model who starred in a Dove ad that has been called racist, has come to the defense of the commercial, claiming that the image that has gone viral misrepresents the ad.

“There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage,” Ogunyemi wrote in The Guardian on Tuesday, admitting that Dove has been criticized for this same issue in the past. “Having said that, I can also see that a lot has been left out. The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion.”

A clip of the commercial showing Ogunyemi removing a skin-toned shirt and becoming a white woman went viral over the weekend. Many people bashed the ad for equating whiteness for cleanliness.

Dove later pulled the commercial campaign and issued an apology saying the company’s and had “missed the mark.”

“I know that the beauty industry has fueled this opinion with its long history of presenting lighter, mixed-race or white models as the beauty standard,” Ogunyemi wrote. “This repressive narrative is one I have seen affect women from many different communities I’ve been a part of. “

Ogunyemi claims the full 30-second ad featured seven women of “different races and ages,” showing that there are many different skin types.

“I loved it, and everyone around me seemed to as well. I think the full TV edit does a much better job of making the campaign’s message loud and clear,” she wrote.

Ogunyemi added that she is “not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign.” She added that the company should have “defended their creative vision, and their choice to include [Ogunyemi], an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign.”