- Kerion Washington, from Fort Worth, Texas, was denied a summer job at Six Flags Over Texas because of his dreadlocks back in March
- The high school junior said the experience left him ‘confused and disappointed’
- His mom shared the story and a photo of Kerion in a now viral Facebook post that caught the attention of Corrie Caster – head of development of IMG Models LA
- IMG Models Los Angeles represents some of the world’s most famous faces, including Barbara Palvin, Alek Wek, Bella and Gigi Hadid, and Karlie Kloss
- Corrie asked development and placement agency Jones Model Management in Austin, Texas, to work with Kerion, and to develop a portfolio
- Kerion said he never expected to be given the opportunity to model, but that he has an opportunity to work while being completely himself
- ‘Regardless of your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or hairstyle type – you can achieve anything with hard work,’ he said
A 17-year-old boy who was denied a summer job at Six Flags because of his dreadlocks has landed a modeling contract.
Kerion Washington, from Fort Worth, Texas, applied to the theme park for his first ever job, but learned after showing up for an interview that his hair was a problem for the brand, which left him feeling ‘confused and disappointed’.
However, after the high school junior’s story blew up online, he was scouted by IMG Models LA and went on to land a modeling contract with Texas-based agency Jones Model Management.
Wow! Kerion Washington, 17, from Fort Worth, Texas, has landed a modeling contract just a few months after he was denied a job at Six Flags for having dreadlocks
Confused! The high school junior applied to the theme park for his first ever job, but learned after attending an interview (where he is pictured) that his hair was a problem for the brand
Viral: His mother Karis Washington took to Facebook to share a photo of her son and reveal the details of the situation, and her post quickly went viral, gathering the attention of thousands
Kerion applied for a job at the theme park in Texas back in March. However, he was denied the job on the basis of his hair, which is styled in dreadlocks.
His mother Karis took to Facebook to reveal her disappointment at the situation, writing: ‘Took my son for an interview at 6 flag…he didn’t get the job cuz [sic] he has locs (dreads).’
Opportunities: Corrie Caster, head of development of IMG Models Los Angele saw Kerion’s story, and reached out to the teen to see if he would be interested in modeling
‘I spoke with the HR Supervisor and she said they gave him the opportunity to come back when he don’t have dreads.
‘She said dreads are NOT allowed but he can have braids,’ she added.
Karis said the HR Supervisor said dreadlocks are ‘an extreme hairstyle’, before comparing them to tattoos and piercings.
She added: ‘I told her I read the grooming policy and it says your hair cannot hang more than two inches below your collar and two inches above your head including dreads, braids, etc…. nowhere did i read dreads are not allowed.
‘Then she said she can see how i got confused but dreads are not allowed,’ Karis said, concluding her post which quickly went viral.
Speaking to Fox 5, Kerion said he was ‘confused and disappointed’ over the situation.
However Kerion’s situation wasn’t all bad, as Corrie Caster, head of development of IMG Models Los Angeles – which represents the likes of Barbara Palvin, Alek Wek, Gigi and Bella Hadid and Karlie Kloss – saw Kerion’s story.
Corrie, who is also head of scouting for IMG Worldwide, reached out to Kerion and Karis, before connecting him with Jones Model Management in Austin, Texas.
Striking: Corrie, who is also head of scouting for IMG Worldwide then got in touch with development and placement agency Jones Model Management in Austin, Texas
Incredible: Corrie asked the development and placement agency to work with Kerion and put together a portfolio, and to send on his work to IMG Models once he had gained experience
Meant to be: Leslie Jones, one of the directors for Jones Model Management, said Kerion was a ‘natural’, adding that the agency is currently helping him learn how to pose and walk
Corrie asked the development and placement modeling agency to work with Kerion and put together a portfolio, as she said she thought he had what it takes to become a model.
Surprised: Kerion said he never expected to receive such an offer, but that when he realized he received the modeling offer, he ‘had to take it’
She told the Texas-based agency to send on his work to IMG Models once he had gained enough experience.
Leslie Jones, one of the directors for Jones Model Management, said Kerion was a ‘natural’.
‘We got him here and he was a natural. We are just helping him learn how to pose and how to walk.
‘He was just so good for it being his first time,’ Leslie, who spent years modeling in New York before setting up the company with her wife Briley, added.
Kerion said he was shocked when he received the offer, as he never expected anything of the sort to happen.
‘I just thought it would be another job offer for just a regular job for the summer, but when I heard about modeling, I had to take it,’ he said.
Despite being nervous during his first photo shoot, Kerion told Fox 5: ‘As I got used to it – based on what they taught me – it was fun.
‘It was fun to experience taking pictures and walking the way I’m supposed to walk,’ he added.
Kerion said he is happy he was given the opportunity to have a career in which he can be himself, adding that he hopes it might inspire others to achieve their goals.
‘I think it’s great that they got me to where I can truly be myself,’ the teenager said.
Nervous: Although Kerion (seen without dreadlocks) said he was nervous to take part in a photo shoot at first, he said it was a ‘fun’ experience
Grateful: He said he is happy he was given the chance to work at something in which he can be fully himself, and that he hopes his story inspires others to remain true to themselves
Inspiring: ‘Regardless of your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or hairstyle type – you can achieve anything with hard work,’ Kerion said
‘Regardless of your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or hairstyle type – you can achieve anything with hard work.
‘That’s the message I want people to learn from all of this,’ Kerion, who is now regularly sharing photos with his 28,000 Instagram followers, added.
Six Flags told DailyMail.com in a statement in March that they ‘work on a case-by-case basis to address individual needs’.
The statement read: ‘Six Flags is one of the largest seasonal employers in the country, hiring more than 30,000 team members across 26 parks annually.
‘We maintain a company-wide grooming code that includes standard uniforms for front-line team members and no extreme hairstyles such as drastic variations in hair color, locks or partially shaven heads.
‘We do permit braids and we also recognize that some team members may request accommodations to our grooming code due to religious, cultural or medical reasons.
‘We work with those team members on a case-by-case basis to address his or her individual needs.’
However, according to Inside Edition, the company has since changed its policy.
In a statement to the publication, a spokesperson for Six Flags Over Texas said: ‘Male team members may now wear dreadlocks – provided, per our standard guidelines – they are well-groomed and do not extend past the bottom of the collar.’