A 22-year-old Dubliner has gone viral after posting a video on Tiktok about how the tights she bought for her job as a passenger service agent were nowhere near her skin tone.
“So, I’ve literally been in work all day and any time I walk out of the desk people keep staring at me and I kept wondering why,” Latifa Atanda says in the video, which she recorded in Dublin Airport.
“My tights don’t match my skin tone. Obviously, because I can’t find my skin tone in tights anywhere, so everyone is literally staring at me.”
Latifa’s video has been viewed 48k times since, and even caught the attention of Kim Kardashian’s brand SKIMS.
"I didn't think the video would be popular. I was just ranting. When I knew it was viral was when Kim Kardashian's brand commented on it,” Latifa says.
"I was just so frustrated that day because when it comes to our uniforms and grooming it’s so strict. Especially with black girls. I had gotten a new uniform that day and with the skirt, you have to wear tights that are 'skin-coloured'.”
Latifa bought the darkest shade of tights available in her local shop but they looked a lot different from how she had anticipated when she put them on.
“I bought the darkest shade they had but they did not look as dark on as they did in the packet. I didn't think it was that bad though and thought I'd get away with it. But when I got into the airport everyone just kept staring at me,” she says.
“My colleagues were looking at me funny. I thought maybe it was my face, I didn't know what it was. Then I figured it out that my tights were totally off-colour. I didn't want to get out from behind the desk. I eventually had to leave it to help a passenger out and I was so frustrated with everyone staring at me. That's when I made the video."
While she says that Penneys has a wide range of shades, Latifa struggles to find tights in any other Irish store. SKIMS recommended one of its products in the comment section — however, one pair starts at €50.
"I don't have a choice of shops to go into. Most shops don't have shades as dark as me. They just don't, and it's sad."
Latifa isn’t the first person to struggle with finding tights. In 2014, businesswoman Ade Hassan launched her own brand, Nubian Skin, after she got fed up with experiencing the same issue. The brand has extended to more than 50 countries since and she was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to fashion.
Meghan Markle has also appeared in numerous articles after pictures of her wearing tights that looked off shade popped up online.
It’s rumoured that it is protocol for royal women to wear 'nude' tights, but as Twitter users have pointed out, it might not be as easy for her to find suitable pairs of them as it would be for others.
I feel so sorry for #MeghanMarkle because her every move is scrutinized because she's American, a "commoner," older and biracial. Now, they are talking about her nude color tights. They don't exactly match her skin tone. Well, this is a COMMON problem for women of color.— Throw Up & Theology (@revlaurelj) November 12, 2018
Latifa has left her job since recording the video and is now working as a care assistant while she makes a plan to possibly rejoin the aviation industry as a cabin crew member next year. However, her faith in the industry has been battered.
"It was just too much. There is so much discrimination out there. For example, with our makeup, our shades are a bit different but I had to wear red lipstick for [that] work. The shade of red on me didn't look nice so I tried to use a pinker tone but it had to be red,” she says.
“When it comes to black girls, it's hard ... they want us to all look alike but we can't look like everyone else.”