Denounce Fashion Magazine’s Use of White Model with Darkened Skin as ‘African Queen’

Target: Fashion magazine Numéro

Goal: Express outrage that a white model made up to appear black was used for an editorial in the magazine entitled “African Queen”

In a recent editorial in the French fashion magazine Numéro, the 16-year-old white American model Ondria Hardin posed as an “African Queen” with her skin darkened to appear black. She was clearly meant to represent a black person. This is in spite of the fact that a variety of talented black models were available to the magazine.

The fashion industry has come under criticism of late that too many of its models are white – often at a rate as high as about 85%. The industry has at times responded that there are simply not that many non-white models. In this case however, despite the fact that it was obviously inappropriate for anyone other than a black model to pose for a spread entitled “African Queen,” Numéro magazine selected a white American model.

Ondria Hardin, the model depicted, is a 16-year-old from North Carolina. Her modeling agency even has black models, who were apparently passed over. For the the numerous models of color in the fashion and modeling business who already face discrimination, a piece like Numéro’s is an insult.

Sign the petition below to demand an apology from Numéro for such insensitivity and express dismay at the use of white models to portray black people.


Dear editors of Numéro magazine,

A recent editorial in your magazine entitled “African Queen” portrayed a black woman, but the model in the role is a 16-year-old white girl from the United States. In the photograph her skin is darkened to appear black. This was a poor choice, given that there are plenty of qualified black models, even from the same agency with whom the model in the editorial works.

I believe it is remarkably racially insensitive to select a white girl to pose as a black woman, not only because black women were available for the role, but because it bespeaks an othering of blackness that is offensive to people of color.

I ask that you apologize for printing the editorial and refrain from such action in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: aschutz57 via Flickr

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