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CANNES WATCH: Model says fashion moving slowly on diversity

Model Liya Kebede poses for photographers at the opening ceremony and the screening of the film La Tete Haute (Standing Tall) at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

CANNES, France (AP) — Liya Kebede is one of the top models in fashion, but the Ethiopian stunner still sees the fashion industry as lagging when it comes to featuring people of color — and it’s not the only one.

“Diversity is an issue — not just in fashion but in general, even in cinema. Especially when you’re here, you also see it,” Kebede, a L’Oreal ambassador for the Cannes Film Festival, said in an interview on Thursday.

Kebede earlier this year was featured on the cover of French Vogue, but she was the first black woman to make the vaunted magazine’s cover in five years.

“It’s a slow progress. I think things are getting better a little bit. I think this year and in the last couple of years, there has been a bit more diversity, definitely in fashion, but I just hope it’s not just a phase thing and then it phases out,” she said. “I hope it’s something that becomes just normal. I think it’s time — well, it’s been time.”

Kebede walked the red carpet on the film’s opening night with fellow models Doutzen Kroes and Karlie Kloss and Hollywood stars such as Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o and Naomi Watts.

The 37-year-old mother of two described the atmosphere on the carpet as “magic.”

“It was super exciting actually. I think we were all very nervous, I think it was kind of nerve-wracking, but Cannes is always full of magic and full of excitement and that red carpet is pretty special,” she said.

— By Zara Eldridge, http://www.twitter.com/zara_younis

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