There's no way the cameras could have captured just how much Khadisha went through this week. There's also no way they could have fully captured her strength and drive. When I picked the girls for my team, I didn't know who was going to fight or not. Turns out, Khadisha is a fighter. She was there to fight for her life.
[embed:render:file:342766:full]First, she had to deal with Kira's nonsense. Kira's words were either racist or ignorant or xenophobic or a combination of some or all of those things -- and it's possible whatever she was trying to say was made even worse by getting "lost in translation." Whatever the case, Khadisha was put on the defensive for being black and for being foreign -- and that's unacceptable and heartbreaking. (Click here to read Kira's statement)
Khadisha also had to come to terms with the nature of the campaign -- a nude photo shoot. While it was executed with both high artistic and professional standards, Khadisha is a Muslim from Senegal. For her, posing nude is a big no-no. It's also a no-no for her family and culture. But she signed up for a modeling competition in NYC, and we didn't have two sets of rules for these girls.
After watching episode 2, you might think I strategically put Khadisha up for elimination because I thought Naomi wouldn't want to send her home after being forced to deal with race as an issue. That is not true! As I said in my premiere recap, I play fair. I chose her for one simple reason: Her pictures were terrible. True, Sharon needs to work on her face, but there were plenty of solid shots of Sharon I could have handed the client. There were almost none of Khadisha. The second the cameras started rolling, she totally froze up.
That said, Khadisha can't take all the blame for losing this challenge. I made a mistake, too. Our inspiration for this campaign was the famous 1989 Herb Ritts shot of five supermodels. It seemed like a good idea to me at the time. It's an iconic image. They're naked. Naomi's in it. And I thought it would be better to go less commercial and more editorial. But this is a hair campaign. The picture should have been a lot closer up, not full body. And when it comes right down to it, Naomi's girls did a better job. They captured that special moment where everyone looks amazing. You just want to keep staring at that Team Naomi photo.
As for Khadisha, she's a real superstar. She's gorgeous and classy, and it was so impressive to witness her incredible strength. Khadisha knows what she wants. She has a dream and she goes for it. She's an inspiration to women and we all learned a lot from her. Don't count Khadisha out.
Kira's Official Statement on the Race Debate in Episode 2