To my followers...
I wanted to take the time to sit and write a message to my followers and customers for whom I have a lot of respect. This week, following consistent harassment via fake social media accounts and emails in the same spirit, an ad was posted on Craigslist posing as me/Goldmorning. The post was a fake model casting call for models for Goldmorning. It included racist and prejudiced statements, and sentiments that are completely at odds with the values of Goldmorning. The individual responsible is not only harassing our company, but is now affecting the lives of many other girls. I woke up this morning thinking if they have a beef with me, that's one thing - but to get other innocent people involved, have them wake up early for a casting call, pay for an Uber, get ready in hopes that they can make some money on a gig? It truly saddens me. Those people have lives, cares, families, and places to be. They aren't just a tool to use to spite someone. This leads me to believe this isn't truly about model diversity on my website; the culprit clearly does not care about people, as this tactic is entirely counterintuitive.
With that said, all things that seem bad will be used for good. I want to take a second to (1) share a little bit more about myself since I am so attached to my company, and I'm the one running the show, and (2) explain our shooting process to anyone who might have questions concerning diversity, race or ethnicity. In case that ad should be seen by anyone and plant a false seed in their mind about how I view people and race, let me put a few things to rest. I quote Helen Ashe from the Love Kitchen:
I believe "There is one race, and that is God's race."
I believe all people are to be treated equal and that all deserve the same love, respect and opportunity. I believe we all have an important purpose and role in life, that we were carefully designed with true purpose and vision, and that God made no mistakes. No one is above, no one is below, and financial worth is irrelevant.
Although some of you met me in Florida when I lived there, and some have met me in Los Angeles after my move, I was born and raised in Bensonhurst Brooklyn (New York). I grew up spending time on the block and corner, playing man-hunt, hanging out with friends on stoops and buying chips and bubble gum and bagels at our local deli (shout out to Hot Bagels which is now Dale bagels). I attended a public school. I wasn't raised with parents who had a lot of money, or very much of it at all. Nearly all of my friends came from a different country or different ethnic background from mine, and almost everyone spoke a second language. Never have I sought to surround myself with one type of person or friends who simply mirror me. I don't because it's not how I was raised and it's not how I was conditioned. And even besides all of that, I am responsible to God for my life - this includes who I surround myself with, what is in my heart towards them, and how I treat them. I don't answer to the world's standard, I answer to God and His standard that everyone is equal.
As some of you may know, Goldmorning is still considered a small business. It's something my husband and I work on full time, only occasionally contracting an assistant for photoshoots, or when orders are heavy. The model you see in each "shop" category is me, the owner - Beulah. I model the clothing not because I actually think I have the prerequisites of a model, or because that's my standard of size or beauty - it's simply because we are on a budget, and I don't have to pay myself. My husband is the photographer, so it works out. Without those two things, I honestly don't think Goldmorning would be standing today. Models are not cheap and neither are photographers (we know first hand because we are photographers!) We simply would not have been able to afford those costs, and still can't. So of course I am grateful we can maintain it using the equipment and skills we have. I don't feel like I have to speak to or defend my body type because it's mine and I'm healthy - so please respect that. Like I said, I'm not a model, I'm just a business owner with a budget.
You may have seen shoots of other models on Instagram where I am the photographer. I am also a photographer (www.beulahanne.com) and sometimes the two jobs are able to cross over. From time to time, when taking pictures I am able to incorporate Goldmorning styling, and sometimes these photos find their way onto the Goldmorning homepage or Instagram. What needs to be made clear is the models that I am photographing are girls who need new images added to their book and I am their photographer. We did not hire them for Goldmorning specifically. I don't call up an agency and say, "Hi, I need this this and this for a shoot, show me your girls." That route would be costly, and like I said, our business is not there yet. As it stands, not all the models share the same skin tone or ethnicity, even with slim selection I have. This is not blame shifting to the agencies and models I work with, this is simply stating that these are the girls who needed photos at that specific time.
There is a lot that goes on behind the doors of a business - it's never just how it seems or how it looks on the surface. I found a way to incorporate Goldmorning into my other job. I don't have as broad a selection of models or say so as you think, but one day I will.
In the future, would I love to have the budget and support to be more selective and specific with the visuals of Goldmorning? Absolutely. I am praying for the day, but right now I am a small business, and I have to work around what I have. I am doing the best I can do. Assumptions and attacks are frustrating to deal with because they don't see the parts of your life that you don't broadcast. They don't see how on the fourth of July I chased an African American woman down by the pool because she was so strikingly beautiful my jaw literally dropped, handed her my card and asked her if she would like to shoot, only for her to never get back to me (I don't blame her, I literally chased down on a pool deck and probably seemed like a creeper). Regardless, why would I say that publicly? Why would I announce that on social media? It would be strange. It isn't posted how I was working with my gorgeous friend and model who is considered plus size, but then had to move and was not able to work with her anymore (please move to LA). But I want you all to know that I'm aware and working on it, just like I'm working on website functions, curation of the shop, customer service, financials, and everything else that comes along with running a business by yourself. The dreams and goals that I have for Goldmorning are only to reach more people, not to divide and be selective.
To be honest, I haven't received very much feedback on either matter (other than a couple polite messages through Instagram) but this post is for the ones who haven't spoken up - I want you to have answers and know who you are buying from. This is also for anyone who will maliciously try to defame my character, and the reputation of our company. I'm always looking to improve, I'm constantly changing and growing. Please give me the grace and time to do so, and if you feel like it - even say a prayer, I would greatly appreciate it.
I love you guys, and I care about you guys. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support. I'm overwhelmed by my savior, my friends, my family and my following.