How Many Black Models Were In The September Issues?


In fall 2007, WWD and The New York Times published pieces about the absence of black models on the fashion runways. We did our own tally of black models in fashion magazines, and came up with some shocking statistics.

At the time, we were counting black models in fashion editorials — not ads, not beauty spreads — but fashion shoots in the coveted feature well.

Here’s how many black models we found in the October 2007 issues:
Marie Claire: 1, starring solo in a 6-page fashion editorial
W: 1, appearing on 1 page of a 20-page fashion editorial
Vogue: 0
Harper’s Bazaar: 0
Glamour: 0
Cosmopolitan: 0
Allure: 0
Lucky: 0
Elle: 0

(That year, we also looked for black models in the November, December and January 2008 issues.)

Have things changed, three years later? Yes and no. When looking at the September issues — September being the most important issue of the year for fashion-oriented magazines — we found that a few publications actually used black models in multi-page spreads in the feature well. Others? Not one black model got her own shoot. Take a look:

Zero black models in a major photoshoot in the feature well.

Halle Berry is on the cover — the first African-American woman on Vogue‘s September issue since 1989. But she’s not a black model. There are black models scattered throughout the issue, but no black model got her own multi-page shoot. Lara Stone got 12 pages to herself. Karlie Kloss also got 12 pages — of just her, alone. Isabeli Fontana is on 8 pages.

These monsters were awarded 6 pages in Vogue.

Just FYI: in Vogue, when black models do appear, they are in shoots that use multiple models.

Jennifer Lopez is on the September cover of Glamour. Inside, model Julia Dunstall is all alone on 10 pages. Sessilee Lopez appears with her sister in a story called “My Sister’s Got Style” and next to Michael Kors Tommy Hilfiger in another story, but not one black model gets her own feature shoot.

Former ANTM contestant Yaya DaCosta appears on some covers of W (there are multiple covers), and inside there’s a breathtaking spread featuring model Lyndsey Scott. Of course, she’s naked, which in itself is problematic, but she looks gorgeous.

Zero black models in a major photoshoot in the feature well.

(Model Karmen Pedaru gets 12 pages by herself. Carmen Kass gets 12 pages as well. Dree Hemingway and Heidi Mount also have multiple-page shoots.)

Zero black models in a major photoshoot in the feature well.

Zero black models in a major photoshoot in the feature well.

Zero black models in a major photoshoot in the feature well.

(The magazine did use an Asian model, however.)

Model Georgie Badiel gets ta whopping ten pages to herself. And she’s rocking an Afro!

Chanel Iman has 8 pages all to herself. And looks amazing.

This mag was not on our original list, but we’re including it since a black model named Kelly Moreira gets 8 whole pages to herself. The adult mags could learn a thing or two from the kids.

In conclusion:
Black models who landed a coveted showcase fashion editorial in the feature well of a September 2010 issue:
Marie Claire: 0
W: 1
Vogue: 0
Harper’s Bazaar: 0
Glamour: 0
Cosmopolitan: 0
Allure: 1
Lucky: 0
Elle: 1
Teen Vogue: 1

Not a lot of progress.

Many of these magazines — especially Glamour — did have a lot of models of color sprinkled throughout. But there are plenty of black models who would love to land a feature shoot in a September issue — whose careers would get a boost from that kind of exposure — and many of the fashion mags missed that chance.

Why is it important for black models to be on multiple editorial pages? As Anna Holmes wrote in 2007:

It is on the editorial pages that an editor communicates most directly with her readers. There’s a reason why impressionable, fashion-obsessed 13-year-old girls choose Steven Meisel-lensed fashion spreads over CoverGirl lipstick ads when decorating their bedroom walls. And the covers, when they do feature a black face, are almost always given up to a celebrity, a woman who most likely has straightened, lightened, contoured and streamlined her hair and facial features to as close an approximation of whiteness as possible.

A fashion magazine uses its glossy fashion editorial pages to announce what is beautiful, fashionable, and “now.” When only white models are utilized in the highly desirable September feature fashion shoots, the message being sent is that to be beautiful, fashionable and “now,” you can’t be black.

Earlier: Fewer Models Of Color Work New York’s Fashion Runways
Where Are All The Black Models? Let’s Start By Asking Anna Wintour
Death Of The Black Model?
Merry Christmas, Black Models, Wherever You Are
We’re Still Looking For Black Models
Most Ladymags Continuing To Experience Whiteout Conditions

Related: Naked Black Women With Clothed Counterparts? Quelle Surprise

Teen Vogue Dishes Up Diversity With A Smile

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