Munroe Bergdorf became globally known as the first transgender model to be selected to take part in a national beauty campaign, a project that would promote diversity and inclusiveness. But when her views on systemic racism were sold to the press, the brand decided to end their partnership.
Ever since, her point of view has been consistently challenged and used to trigger sensational news stories. This Feeld event aimed to create an environment where the urgent questions she raised are given a due platform for exploration, free of media agenda, judgement and assumptions.
Beginning with a general overview of how today’s culture shapes commonly held perceptions of “whiteness” and “blackness”, Munroe emphasised the palpable rise of merging pop culture and “black” culture, to the extent that the youth today will no longer be able to distinguish between them. She noted the shifts resulting from this process, remembering how just few years ago the mere mention of “white people” as an explicit reference to the white race, was not something one could do, out of uncertainty of the response.
Munroe pointed out how her experience in the public eye has challenged her self-perception many times. She explained that the ability to build confidence despite popular opinion is rooted in “decolonising the mind” from accepted ideas of beauty. Relating this journey of self acceptance to her dating experience, Munroe shared a moving personal example about her struggle with mental health issues and the battle to arrive at a place where she could say “I really want the best for myself now” . She highlighted how this process helped her understand herself and others better.