It’s unfortunate thing when racism and colorism surface on any occasion, but it’s especially heinous when they show up in the workplace.

That’s exactly what happened to supermodel Anok Yai, who recently recalled an unfortunate incident with a disrespectful photographer in her early days of modeling. In a series of since deleted tweets, Yai explained that was working on a campaign for Zara, which had booked a photographer that didn’t speak English. She alleged that on the second to last day of shooting, the photographer insulted her.

“Who wants to hear a story?” Yai, 26, began. “I remember in 2019 being called a cockroach by a photographer. It was from this brand that I used to always work with. I didn’t speak their language and they didn’t speak mine but regardless we were on set shooting look after look after look. (there were days I shot 60+ looks)”

She continued:

“On the 2nd to last day, the makeup artist starts powdering my face and the photographer puts his camera down and yells ‘Lotion la cucaracha’ Everyone on set starts smiling and laughing. I can’t react the way I want to react because at the end of the day I’m young, I’m alone, I’m black … anything that I do will affect me, my family, and other black models.

The next morning I refuse to go on set if the photographer is still there. Someone from the team calls me and says ‘we don’t accept that type of behavior, we’ll fire him now. Tell me who he is and we’ll get rid of him.’ I go to set thinking he’s gonna be gone. He walks by me and smiles.”

Yai then goes onto say that another member of the team gaslighted her, alleging that she made the whole thing up and proceeded to speak negatively about her presence on the set. That resulted in her crying, leaving the set, and staying silent due to fear of retribution.

“I remember wanting to come out with the story to magazines but I was told “think about what it will do to your career. That was my first (and not only) time being blacklisted. I’m sure they thought I wasn’t strong enough to stand. But anyways… Hi bitch @ZARA Remember me?,” Yai concluded.

Despite the negativity, it’s good to see that the bullying and blacklisting didn’t work as Yai’s profile in the industry has only continued to rise. Just this year alone, she was one of the top stunners at the 2024 Met Gala, she’s also modeled for top fashion houses and graced the covers of several magazines. One shoot doesn’t stop no show, keep going Anok! We’re rooting for you! As for you Zara, I hope you’ve learned your lesson in the years since.