March's Teen Vogue Dishes Up Diversity With A Smile


While Vogue may have a history of passing over models of color, little sis Teen Vogue has a much better scorecard. And the March issue keeps the diversity alive.

Before you even get to the editorial, the advertising in Teen Vogue sets the tone. One of the first ad pages in the issue is this Marc by Marc Jacobs image featuring a male model, Briane Hatcher, from Queens. A Marc Jacobs ad appears in the first few pages of Vogue, but with a white model (Jamie Bochert). Is the black guy only for the teen market?

In this prom-related ad, a black model and a white model hang out together. And seem to enjoy it!

Another image of ebony and ivory living together in perfect harmony. We’ve noted this before, but generally, advertisers seem to get that people of all colors spend money on stuff.

Both Vogue and Teen Vogue tend to celebrate the rich, the famous, and those related to the rich and famous. Would Vanessa and Angela Simmons have their fashion line featured in the magazine if their father was not in Run-DMC? Maybe not. But it’s good for teenagers to see creative women of color in business.

Brit Singer Janelle Monae is adorable, stylish, and keeping Teen Vogue more diverse than Vogue.

Diversity isn’t just about the inclusion of black models. The March issue of Teen Vogue highlights an Asian model-turned-boutique owner.

Freida Pinto is a no-brainer for a beauty story. Furthermore, when you’re geared toward teenagers, the very act of placing a non-white woman on a beauty page reinforces the radical (for ladymags) idea that not only white, blonde women are beautiful.

The first big fashion shoot in this issue features a diverse cast of models. Yulia Leontieva is originally from Latvia; Kelly Moiera was a finalist in 2009’s Elite Model Look contest in France and subsequently modeled for Lanvin; Kiki Kang is Chinese and has modeled in Singapore, Barcelona, Milan and Paris. It’s so great to see these three women posing and having a great time together. But to nitpick, it’s a little bit bothersome that the story is titled “Global Citizens.” While the conceit is a chance to show how fashion “worlds collide” by mixing Indian saris, African ikats and Chinese brocades, the result is a subtle hint that there’s something “worldly” about three women of different races hanging out. As though you couldn’t see these three being friends in many American high schools.

But that’s kind of a minor detail when you consider how fun and upbeat the shoot is. Has Vogue ever been this fun and diverse at the same time?

When you think “debutante,” you may think blonde, blue-eyed, blueblood. Teen Vogue turns that assumption on its head; a Bal des Débutantes piece opens with a picture of Autumn Whitaker (daughter of actor Forest).

Teen Vogue isn’t perfect; prices are high, nepotism is favored, designer labels are worshipped. But while Vogue focuses on making pretty people look ugly and using Diddy as a model of color, Teen Vogue moves closer to the idea that being exclusionary is just not fashionable.

Earlier: Black Models Tell Teen Vogue How Hard It Is To Be Black Models
Black Models: Teen Vogue Goes Where Vogue Will Not
More Proof That Vogue Can’t Do Anything Right
Vogue’s Not Racist; Three Black Models Prove It!

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin