These are the options for skin colour at ModelMayhem,com to insert into model profiles. It enables photographers to search for us by skin colour, or gives a photographer / makeup artist a sense of the model's skin type (for the former, lighting would be an issue; for the latter, foundation types).
I currently have "Olive" picked as my skin type, but I can't say I like it.
You see, whenever I go out for pizza with a friend, he always orders a pizza with cheese(s) and olives. The olives that come out are always black. And whenever I go to the supermarket, olives are green.
Neither of these are indicative of my real skin colour, which is either white or tanned with a yellow undertone. And yet I have to pick Olive, because it definitely isn't an "Other" or any of the other skin colours listed.
I know that Olive is supposed to be this safe alternative to "yellow" seeing as the term "yellow" has all sorts of unpleasant connotations and is now loaded with overt racism. But I'm not sure it helps to deny that yes, my skin undertone is yellow. When I was growing up, I remember thinking that being white-skinned was a good thing. We would see all these advertisements for Hazeline Snow White and think that having white skin was the best thing evar!
(I actually tried washing my face with the Hazeline cream. I thought it was a kind of soap, and that it would help get whatever dirt was on my face and make it whiter. I would wake up at 5am and the first thing I did was wash my face with it. Don't ask me what kind of logic this makes. I was 8.)
Once in a while, whenever I discuss makeup with other people, eventually our conversation gets to foundation, and the difficulty of finding foundation. For my black friends, it's finding a foundation that's as dark as their skintone, and even those "Noir" tones aren't nearly dark enough to match and even out their actual skintone. For me, it's finding a foundation that doesn't make me look like I'm wearing a mask, and just looks like my natural skintone whenever I'm not tanned. But my black friends will say "black" and I will say "yellow".
It feels odd to say "yellow" too. But why can't I say "yellow"? What other terms do I have to describe my particular skin colour? 'Cos it ain't beige.