Shanina Shaik: 'I've been turned away from casting calls over my skin colour'

Shanina Shaik

Shanina Shaik has been rejected from casting calls in Europe because of her skin colour.

The model, who has Pakistani, Saudi, and Lithuanian heritage, was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia.

But while Shanina is now one of the most-sought after names in the industry, in an interview for the January 2020 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia, she opened up about the prejudices she has faced since launching her career in 2009.

"I remember going to castings in Europe and getting turned away because of my skin colour," the 28-year-old recalled. "That was only six years ago... There's still some jobs I don't book because I don't fit into a certain category. I've had to bang down so many doors for people to understand and embrace me."

The Victoria's Secret Angel went on to explain that she'd had to convince agents and clients to book her for jobs, and even left her home country to try and land more work in New York because she "didn't look like an average Australian girl".

"They said I was never going to be a high-fashion model and that I'd never do runways," she commented. "Agents, clients... they all told me the same thing. I would go to castings and never get the jobs that I wanted, and it really affected me - especially as so much of it was because I look so mixed."

And while the brunette beauty acknowledges that the fashion business is "moving towards a better future", she also insisted there is still a long way to go until everyone feels represented and included.

"The fashion industry has to find a voice. Look at Halima Aden - she's had a huge impact. Beauty doesn't just have to be one segment or category - it should be international. Why does it matter what colour your skin is? It should matter who you are," the star added.

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