Model on the Defense After 'Unrecognizable' Vogue Cover

Gigi Hadid says photo shoot 'was not executed correctly' after she's accused of donning 'blackface'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2018 7:59 AM CDT
Gigi Hadid Says Sorry for Italian Vogue 'Blackface' Cover
Model Gigi Hadid wears a Fendi creation during Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, on Feb. 22, 2018.   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

It's expected models will adopt varying looks during different photo shoots, but Gigi Hadid's cover for the May issue of Vogue Italia is raising more eyebrows than champagne glasses. Per the BBC, the 23-year-old was photographed by Steven Klein. She's shown on the cover (see it here) in the embrace of model Justin Martin, but she's so caked in bronzer she's being called "unrecognizable" on social media—with some even accusing her of wearing blackface. "Yeah why hire a black model when we can paint Gigi's complete body and face to look like one," a commenter noted, per BuzzFeed. Hadid, who apparently took down her own Instagram post showing the cover, tried to explain her side on Twitter and via an Instagram story, noting her creative control during both a shoot and post-production is "nonexistent" and that the intention of the shoot "was not executed correctly."

"Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different," she added, noting Klein has been using "bronzing and photoshop ... for years." In its own statement, per the Independent, Vogue Italia apologized if anyone took offense, saying it has always "respected and encouraged the creative viewpoints of commissioned photographers" and that "the vision was to create a beachwear-themed story with a stylized bronzing effect." People notes it's not the first time Hadid has courted controversy on a magazine cover: In 2015 there was backlash after she appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia sporting darker skin and a colorful Afro, and she was accused of cultural appropriation when she appeared in 2017 on the cover of the very first edition of Vogue Arabia wearing a hijab. (Watch Hadid stare at you for four minutes.)

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