Munroe Bergdorf has agreed to sit on a new diversity board being established by L’Oréal, she confirmed on Twitter on Tuesday. Bergdorf famously became the first transgender model to front a L’Oréal campaign, but was dropped by the beauty giant in 2017 after she made comments about systemic racism on social media in the wake of a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in the US. Her statement on Twitter, which outlined donations L’Oréal intends to make to LGBTQIA+ charities and announced her own seat on the company’s newly-created diversity board, signalled that three years on, a relationship that appeared damaged beyond repair is being healed.
“This week, I spoke with L’Oréal Paris new president, Delphine Viguier, who reached out to me directly. We had an open and constructive conversation, she listened to what I had to say and expressed her regret for how the situation was handled three years ago,” Bergdorf said in the statement, going on to explain that the brand is to make donations of €25,000 (£22,300) to both @mermaidsgender, a charity supporting gender-variant and transgender youth in the UK, and @ukblackpride, an annual celebration of diverse sexualities, gender identities, cultures, gender expressions and backgrounds.
I have spoken with @loreal, please swipe for full statement.
Thank you everyone for having my back with this matter over the past three years, it hasn't been easy.
Looking forward to new beginnings and a new positive relationship with the L'Oreal team.
Munroe x pic.twitter.com/DxltLF8Z7j
— Black Lives Matter ✊🏾 (@MunroeBergdorf) June 9, 2020
As a member of L’Oréal’s newly-created UK Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, Bergdorf will consult with, influence and inform the beauty brand on how it can progress as an institution, alongside other voices from inside and outside of the business. “I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to practise what I preach and take up that seat at the table to be the representation that we deserve as a community,” she said. “I believe in accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges. While what happened 3 years ago was extremely traumatic for me personally and professionally, sitting on a board to provide a voice and a champion for black, trans and queer voices in the beauty industry is important to me,” she wrote.
The news follows a social media post shared by the beauty brand on 2 June that said: “Speaking out is worth it”. Bergdorf called out the wording on Twitter, pointing out how she had been “thrown to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy” three years ago. This week’s resolution has provided Bergdorf – who has said she is looking forward to “new beginnings and a positive relationship with the L’Oréal team” – with some closure following her ordeal.
“Three years ago, Munroe felt silenced by a brand, L’Oréal Paris, that had the power to amplify her voice,” wrote Viguier, “While we both agree today that negative labels should not be used to define all individuals in any group, I understand much better the pain and trauma that were behind Munroe’s words back then and the urgency she felt to speak in defence of the black community against systemic racism… We should have also done more to create a conversation for change as we are now doing.”
From British Vogue