What’s better than one black cover model? Three black cover models.
Teen Vogue is receiving some much-deserved fanfare after revealing its August cover, which features a trio of brown-skinned beauties.
The models, who are being heralded as “Fashion’s New Faces,” are 18-year-old Imaan Hammam who is Egyptian-Moroccan and identifies as black, 19-year-old Lineisy Montero who is Dominican, and 20-year-old Aya Jones who is French-Ivorian.
It’s no secret that fashion has a diversity problem with very few women of color on magazine covers, landing campaigns or gracing the runway. Needless to say, this stunning cover is a huge step in the right direction.
However, just a few weeks ago Teen Vogue was accused of racial appropriation and colorism when readers blasted the glossy on social media after wrongly assuming that the fair-skinned model in the article, “One Editor’s Perfect Summer Hair Came With a Surprising Life Lesson,” about Senegalese twists, was white. In fact, the model, Phillipa Steele, is mixed — Black and French.
The author of the article, Elaine Welteroth, who is Teen Vogue’s health and beauty director and is also of mixed race — African-American and white, responded to the controversy with a poignant essay explaining her reasons for choosing Steele and the important conversation around race that the initial feature has sparked.
Ironically, yet also appropriately, Welteroth is the author of August’s cover story with the three models of color. She shared the cover image on her Instagram account with the caption: “SO incredibly proud of this ICONIC @teenvogue cover. These magnificent beauties are changing the game just being who they are: Talented, poised, conscientious, self-assured, silly…I could go on and on. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to get to know you and to share your incredible stories with all the girls who look up to you.”