After being denied a job at Six Flags in March due to his dreadlocks, 17-year-old Kerion Washington is now being scouted for a potential career in modeling.
According to Dallas News, Karis Washington’s viral Facebook post about the discrimination her son experienced has caught the attention of Corrie Caster who is the head of development for IMG modeling agency in Los Angeles.
“I scout the world looking for talent and stories,” said Caster. “I didn’t know his story then, but he had a lot of physical features we look for in our models.”
After being contacted by Caster via Instagram, the Forth Worth, Texas teen and his mom agreed to work with a local agency that Caster recommended. In June, they traveled to Austin for a photo shoot with Jones Model Management so that the 17-year-old could get his first taste at what it’s like to be in the modeling world.
“The shoot wasn’t exhausting at all,” said the teen. “It was easy work and it was really fun.”
After teaching Washington more about the ins and outs of being a model, Jones Model Management said they will then send his portfolio to IMG Models for consideration of a contract.
“I hope he’s successful and able to have a platform to use his voice to talk about things that mean something to him because he will be put in those positions,” said Caster. “I truly believe this story has to be told, and has to be told over and over again.”
Following Washington’s incident, Six Flags has since modified its policy around different hairstyles. According to the company’s communications manager Sharon Parker, employees are permitted to wear dreadlocks as long as they are “well-groomed” and “do not extend past the bottom of the collar.” Unfortunately these caveats still leave the door wide open discrimination.
Washington’s case is far from uncommon, leading California to recently become the first state to ban employers and schools from discriminating against hairstyles that are typically worn by Black and brown people.
While some may view the teen’s experience with Six Flags as unfortunate, Washington said he’s aware of how blessed he really is because “one door closed and another one opened.”