13 June 2020

Bake-off winner Nadiya Hussain recalls teenage interview for modelling job when told ‘black hands don’t sell jewellery'

Great British Bake Off winner and TV chef Nadiya Hussain has spoken of an outrageous racist episode when she applied for a job as a teenager.

Hussain, now 35, says: "There was an ad for a hand model, needed to model jewellery’.

“No previous experience required,” she said, adding, “I had hands, I needed the money, so figured it was a no brainer! It was a sure thing, I was counting my pennies before I had even got the gig.”

However she immediately felt out of place when she arrived for casting.

“I was met by a women who came and greeted me. I figured it was my turn to show off my hands.”

Before the young Nadiya had even had a chance to speak, the woman turned to her and said: “I’m sorry I didn't know you were black.”

“Yes, right but the ad wanted hands, I have hands,” she said, to which the woman replied: “Black hands don’t sell jewellery.”

“The blood rushed to my face,” Hussain said on Instagram.

“I was so embarrassed, I was now a deep shade of burgundy. I never really thought about my hands, till the colour of the skin that covered them stopped me from getting a job. When you are a teenager, already a little lost, words like this stick.

"Fast forward to my 30s and now my hands are in my cookbooks and in cookery shows, she added.

Nadiya baked the Queen's cake for her 90th birthday (PA)

"I have since worked with Swarovski with these very hands, worn their jewellery with pride! 

"We need to start representing with our voices, with our eyes, with our thoughts, with our hearts and with our hands!

“I am taking ownership back with my hands!” she said.

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