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Huh?! Numéro Magazine Hires White Model Ondria Hardin For “African Queen” Fashion Editorial

Submitted by on February 26, 2013 – 11:21 am6 Comments

Well, this gives new meaning to the term “whitewashed.”

Apparently, someone on the staff of Numéro magazine thought it would be just fine to hire a model, not of African descent, for their fashion spread titled “African Queen.” That’s right, folks! And, to make matters even worse, they instead employed a 16-year-old. Barely a princess, blond haired, blue eyed Ondria Hardin from North Carolina was enlisted to play the part. After dousing her with thick layers of bronzer, the teen model posed in a number of African-inspired looks for the French magazine.

First discovered by Jezebel writer Laura Beck, the spread has rightfully created a controversy with many citing the pictorial as yet another example of the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. “There’s no excuse for using a barely 16-year-old white girl in an ‘African Queen’ spread,” wrote Beck. “It’s impossible to look at this and not ache for young women of color who want to pursue careers in modeling (and arguably, fashion by extension). When they don’t see themselves on the runway or in magazines, it could be very easy for them to think, ‘huh, I guess modeling isn’t for me.’ Then the status quo reigns, and the runways remain monotone. If jobs for ‘African Queen’ photo spreads aren’t going to black women, what hope is there?”

What are your thoughts on Numéro’s “African Queen” editorial? Is the issue simply black and white?

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