Who are you, and where are you from?
I’m mario epanya ,36 years old ,cameroonian based in paris for more than 10 years now and started in 1996 as a Hair and Makeup artist.
How did you get started in photography?
I started photography in april 2007 when i realised that i never going to be a art director for high beauty brands ,so i decided to do something else but in the world of fashion and beauty
When did you start shooting mainly coloured women and why?
well after realising that coloured women were under-represented in the fashion and beauty industry ,i decided to develop the Black market cos lot of people in the industry don’t understand that there’s a black market .anyway Things started to change with the Vogue Africa buzz in the net last year .The fashion changes ,lately i saw Anna Wintour wearing a Wax african print coat .:-) Divine …
i don’t why journalists always ask me this question? will you ask to mariano vivanco why is always shooting causasian models ?
You would like to start a Vogue in Africa, why is that causing so many issues?
Well as Old fashionista ,i ‘ve been around for almost 20 years now and as i said before ,there ‘s lot of people in the undustry who don’t understand the market and they don’t understand that after the crisis ,the world changes and there’s new forces like South Africa,Brasil and more ..and we got to be aware about the needs that new market will ask .and these countries there’s a huge middle -class of black community that want everything that goes with their status ,luxury brands …and Condé Nast france didn’t pay lot of attention to my proposal of having a black edition of vogue .but i think Franca sozzani heard me and create 3 months after my proposal @vOgue.it ;a black vogue and asked for an interview ..well you know it’s never too late for them to make a print version of Black Vogue. but since then i turned the page and create my own magazine online called WINKLER MAGAZINE ,an african magazine dedicated to the Revolution of Black beauty &fashion worlwide …better than Vogue 😉
Is it difficult to find coloured models?
Oh no no no ,Not at All!!!! there are so many that i’m organising next year WINKLER next Face ,a model contest to give an opportunity to these baby tops to sign a one year contract with differents agencies worlwide and become professional models .it’s really excited to built this cos it’s all new .and i think it was Time to make things by ourselves .
Is there a big difference in culture or the way they work in comparing with caucasian models?
Not really a big difference ,the only thing is that we got to think about Being a Model is a REAL JOB not a Hobby ,but i think it’s all about education ,when the girls understand the deal ,it’s all good ,.but as i said it’s all new so ,i got Work to
Why do you think most magazines and designers still mostly use caucasian models?
Well they said”The Market” ..buyers and stuff …don’t want to see black girls on runways or in editorials ,cos “it won’t sell” ..Bullshit all that ,they’re just racists and they using ******reasons to not give the job to a coloured model …that’s all …for me Beauty has “No Color”
What would you like to change in the world of fashion?
I already did change some stuffs ,There’s a Black vogue @vogue .it cos my idea of proposing Vogue Africa made an Worlwide Buzz and made some have a different view @the Black community ,like “wait a minute ,they also know what the word fashion markiet mean..:-)”,we see more and more black girls everywhere ,even burberry use jourdann dunn for campaign and i can give lot of high brands who used coloured models ,like Zara,Lancôme…i created with a friend french journalist Fred Royer ,The brand AFRICA FASHION WEEK PARIS that will take place in paris October 2012 ..and my Winkler magazine is here like a Statement darling.
thank you for this interview