Woman Was Told Her Bridal Dress Would Cost A Little Extra Because She’s Black!

by Gee NY
Image credit:@tessa.tookes on IG

Tessa Tookes, a 28-year-old model based in NYC, found herself at the center of a controversy highlighting the persistent issues of racial inclusivity within the bridal industry.

What began as a quest for the perfect wedding dress turned into a disheartening experience that has sparked conversations about the need for change.

Tookes, who rose to fame after appearing on “Bachelor in Paradise Canada” in 2023, detailed her encounter with a bridal boutique in Ontario, Canada, where she encountered an unexpected and uncomfortable situation.

While trying on what she described as her dream dress, the boutique presented her with an additional cost of $200 to match the undergarments of the gown to her skin tone.

“I was not acutely aware of my blackness until [that moment.] It was incredibly isolating, and I felt very bothered,” Tookes, who was the only person of color in the store at the time, told USA TODAY.

The incident immediately brought back memories of her high school dance performances, where she had to use foundation to “pancake” her ballet shoes and dye “nude” tights with tea bags to match her skin tone.

The unexpected charge for the matching cups left Tookes feeling isolated and “othered.” This incident, unfortunately, is not an isolated one, according to psychologist Mariel Buqué.

Despite strides in inclusivity by many fashion and beauty brands, Buqué noted that such instances send a clear message that darker-skinned women are considered an afterthought in the industry.

Tookes’ fiancé, Joey Kirchner, expressed his frustration in a video that went viral, garnering over 3 million views and 709,000 comments.

Kirchner called out wedding dress designers, demanding that they take note and address the issue. In response to the video, the boutique offered to cover the cost of the wedding dress in full, but Tookes believes that does not address the heart of the problem.

Reflecting on the situation, Tookes mentioned the possibility of speaking up in the moment but expressed the unfairness of having to defend her skin tone.

Online, many women shared their solidarity, recounting similar experiences, while some Black wedding dress designers offered their services to help Tookes.

Mariel Buqué encourages women to prioritize their well-being and emphasizes that even an immobile response is a valid reaction to such hurtful circumstances.

The incident has sparked conversations about the need for change in the bridal industry, prompting psychotherapist Katheleen Isaac to hope for more thoughtful and inclusive practices.

As for Tookes, she is considering working with one of the Black designers who reached out to her, feeling it aligns better with her values.

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