The Clermont Twins Reveal Being Outcasts Took Mental Toll but Paved Way to Stardom

by Xara Aziz
Instagram @clermonttwins

Twin models Shannon and Shannade Clermont, known as the moniker The Clermont Twins, have opened up about insecurities they faced as Black girls being raised in a predominately white neighborhood.

In a recent feature with i-D Magazine, the twins shared that when they lived in Georgia, they would often receive “underhand compliments” because of the color of their skin.

“It was when we moved to Georgia, to a predominantly white neighborhood, that we first realized we were different,” Shannon remembered. “We were the only Black kids in the classroom and they were so intrigued by us, even if they didn’t necessarily accept it.

She continued: “We had friends who’d be like, ‘Oh, I’ve never really brought a Black person home before. And later on, that turned to people telling us we were pretty… for Black girls. It was always these underhand compliments.”

The twins further revealed that the covert forms of discrimination took a toll on their mental health, but rather than allow it to break them down, they grew stronger.

“It definitely exerted a toll on us mentally, but I think it also allowed us to grow stronger,” Shannon said. “It made us realize that we were different, but what were we supposed to do about it? It made us ask: ‘how can we try to exist in these spaces that we’re not technically supposed to be, and we’re not used to being in, and feel comfortable?’”

Instagram @clermonttwins

 Shannade added: “At a young age, we realised that we allowed people to see different things – to question, to wonder, and even learn something from us. We really get people to think, and once we knew that, we would walk into a room and feel sure of ourselves because of that.”

That’s to say they would eventually construct their own space and decided to make it more fascinating than the rooms they’d been rejected from. 

“A huge part of it was developing our personal style, and finding comfort in that,” Shannon said, recalling a time when she would be repeatedly sent to detention for wearing revealing clothing to school, adding they would often don nose, nipple and dermal piercings courtesy of “a piercer that would come over to our house for piercing parties – and our mom had no idea!”

Instagram @clermonttwins

But overall, they say their success is due to their intentionality behind their brand.

“For us, we’re artists, and this is part of our self-expression,” Shannade concluded. “There are many people in this world that feel inspired by us doing what we do. So if we have to be on this platform, and be nailed every now and then, that’s fine. But if it inspires someone else to step up and live their truth, then we’ve done our job.”

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