InStyle and Kerry Washington Respond to Her 'Lightened' Cover


Kerry Washington is on the cover of the March issue of InStyle, and for the second time in a few years, she looks…different…than she usually does.

After Washington’s cover (shot by Jan Welters) came out, she posted it to Instagram, where some fans took issue with how light her skin looks. “I’m glad that you made the cover, but you should speak out about them lightening your skin. Not cool. Tired of the media doing this type of stuff. We are ALL beautiful. Leave everyone natural please,” one wrote. Others just thought the whole cover looked overly photoshopped. It’s definitely lit in a way that is supposed to suggest LIGHT AND HAPPY SPRING!

For context, here’s a still from an on-set video of Washington during the shoot:

On Thursday, InStyle actually put out a statement about the cover…

We are super fans of Kerry Washington here at InStyle. To feature her on the cover of our March spring fashion issue is both an honor and a delight. We have heard from those who have spoken out about our newsstand cover photograph, concerned that Kerry’s skin tone was lightened. While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern. We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward.

…One that Washington supported:

This is hardly the first time, nor will it be the last, that the harsh lights that magazines use during photoshoots will wash out a person of color. While InStyle likely did not consciously intend to make Washington look lighter than she was, their own ideas about what makes a beautiful photo and what makes a beautiful person, coupled with their knowledge of how to shoot people of different skin tones, certainly informed their final product. As it always does.

Images via Jan Welters/InStyle and Getty

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