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"You can’t just swipe racism or homophobia out of your life": Actress Amelia Hoy is demanding change for BIPOC

By Sagal Mohammed

Photo: Liv Latricia Habel

The Danish-American actress and activist believes one of the strongest ways "to change the narrative is through performing arts and fashion"

It’s one thing to use your voice to advocate for socio-political change. Taking tangible action to execute that change is an entirely different challenge — one Danish-American actor and activist Amelia Hoy is committed to achieving. Hoy is spearheading an overdue shift in narrative within Scandinavia through the lens of arts, fashion and storytelling, including the launch of the Nordic Fashion Directory, a platform creating space and opportunities for people of colour in the fashion industry.

“One of the strongest ways to change the narrative is through performing arts and fashion because that's where we, in a very subtle but very profound way, accept the status quo,” Hoy tells me, as we catch up over breakfast on a rainy Saturday morning in London. Born in California, Hoy moved to Copenhagen as a teen and has been going back and forth since. Her experience as a woman of colour in Scandinavia is layered — even more so within her line of work.

In 2015, Hoy became the first woman of African-American descent to graduate as an Actor from The Danish National School of Performing Arts in Copenhagen, the most prestigious drama school in the country. With only eight admissions a year, it is the Nordic equivalent of London’s Rada or Lamda. “When I was admitted, there were no teachers of colour and no employees of colour, with the exception of people who came and cleaned at night,” she recalls. “So when we talk about structural racism, or when we talk about the lack of representation in Scandinavia, I'm glad that so many people have become aware of it now, but it’s no news to me.”

Photo: Liv Latricia Habel

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