16-Year-Old White Girl Poses in ‘African Queen’ Editorial

Granted there are white people who come from Africa as well. But to have one painted black on top of all the prejudice in the industry? As a former model who has endured some of the insults in the industry myself, I have to say this is really an insult to all black models on the planet!

Source: Laura Beck for Jezebel.com

Beyonce painted her face black for a picture

Here we go again. Here’s 16-year-old white model Ondria Hardin; she’s doused in a very deep bronze in an editorial for Numéro magazine called “African Queen”. Ugh. Foudre makes the excellent point/sums it up with, “why hire a black model when you could just paint a white one!”

Maybe it’s because the magazine just couldn’t find a black model? Maybe there are none, and it’s just not a profession that appeals to anyone but young, tall, skinny, white girls? They’re probably the only ones who enjoy traveling around the world and getting paid tons of money to be pretty? I know, I know, modeling is much more than that — don’t listen to me, I can barely smize! — but you get the point. It appears diversity also floundered at NYC’s fashion week this year, with over 82 percent of the models being white.

However, the same agency that represents Ondria Hardin has several black women in their pool. It’s a much (MUCH) tinier pool than the amount of white models they represent, but it does exist. And if none of those women are quite right, there are about a gazillion other places to look. There’s no excuse for using a barely 16-year-old white girl in an “African Queen” spread.

It’s impossible to look at this and not ache for young women of color who want to pursue careers in modeling (and arguably, fashion by extension). When they don’t see themselves on the runway or in magazines, it could be very easy for them to think, “huh, I guess modeling isn’t for me.” Then the status quo reigns, and the runways remain monotone. If jobs for “African Queen” photo spreads aren’t going to black women, what hope is there?

Here is what the magazine had to say as an excuse for the spread, “Some people have declared that they have been offended by the publication in Numéro magazine n°141 of March 2013, of an editorial realized by the photographer Sebastian Kim called “African Queen”, featuring the American model Ondria Hardin posing as an “African queen”, her skin painted in black.
The artistic statement of the photographer Sebastian Kim, author of this editorial, is in line with his previous photographic creations, which insist on the melting pot and the mix of cultures, the exact opposite of any skin color based discrimination. Numéro has always supported the artistic freedom of the talented photographers who work with the magazine to illustrate its pages, and has not took part in the creation process of this editorial.

For its part, Numéro Magazine, which has the utmost respect for this photographer’s creative work, firmly excludes that the latest may have had, at any moment, the intention to hurt readers’ sensitivity, whatever their origin.

Numéro Magazine considers that it has regularly demonstrated its deep attachment to the promotion of different skin-colored models. For instance, the next issue of Numéro for Man on sale on 15th march has the black model Fernando Cabral on the cover page, and the current Russian edition’s cover of our magazine features the black model Naomi Campbell on its cover. This demonstrates the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations made against our magazine, deeply committed to the respect for differences, tolerance and more generally to non-discrimination.

Considering the turmoil caused by this publication, the Management of Numéro Magazine would like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this editorial.

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