Model Anok Yai Claims Photographer Called Her 'Cockroach' During ZARA Shoot

Photo: Getty Images

Rising model Anok Yai says a photographer called her a "cockroach" during a shoot for the clothing brand ZARA.

“Who wants to hear a story?” Yai said last month in a now-deleted Twitter post. “I remember in 2019 being called a cockroach by a photographer. It was from this brand that I used to always work with. I didn’t speak their language and they didn’t speak mine but regardless we were on set shooting look after look after look. (there were days I shot 60+ looks)”

“On the 2nd to last day, the makeup artist starts powdering my face and the photographer puts his camera down and yells ‘Lotion la cucaracha’ Everyone on set starts smiling and laughing," she continued. "I can’t react the way I want to react because at the end of the day I’m young, I’m alone, I’m black … anything that I do will affect me, my family, and other black models.”

Yai said she decided to speak up for herself by refusing to work with the photographer the next day.

“The next morning I refuse to go on set if the photographer is still there. Someone from the team calls me and says ‘we don’t accept that type of behavior, we’ll fire him now. Tell me who he is and we’ll get rid of him.’ I go to set thinking he’s gonna be gone. He walks by me and smiles,” the model said.

Yai went on to allege that the team claimed she "made up" the incident.

“Someone from the team pulls me aside and says ‘I asked the team what happened and they said you made it up. Honestly, whenever you come here, you’re never smiling and you’re never happy to be here," she wrote on Twitter.

“By now, there’s tears running down my face,” Yai continued. “I told her I wasn’t lying, she still doesn’t believe me. But I could tell she wanted me to sit down and shut up so I forced them to call my car to the airport and pay my full rate regardless. I remember wanting to come out with the story to magazines but I was told “think about what it will do to your career” That was my first (and not only) time being blacklisted I’m sure they thought I wasn’t strong enough to stand But anyways …”

The model appeared to confirm that she was working with the ZARA team during the alleged incident.

“Hi bit*h @ZARA Remember Me?” she tweeted.

Yai later deleted her tweets, and ZARA hasn't addressed her allegations.

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