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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
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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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6 Comments »

  • SheQuita says:

    Oh my… This is sad because this girl is 16 years old and published in a major magazine and is invovled with controversy already. It’s a shame because these pictures are beautiful, but why did they feel they had to have a white girl? There are PLENTY of black models her size and shape. Not all of them are posted on King or XXL. A lot want to be fashion models and people like this will not give them a chance. What makes her better than a black girl her size and shape and age? Not much. I want to model and I know I’m not tall enough to be a super model, but this makes me think “I guess I am not what the modeling industry is looking for.” And I’m sure I am not the only one who is discouraged. *sigh* this really does make my heart break.

  • Sandra says:

    This is not good at all. Numero Magazine should be boycotted just on principal. Are women with African decent that hard to work with because I know plenty of black women who have that look or better with the SAME shape. What is the point of all this? As a woman of African decent I’m offended. Geez I know they are trying to get rid of us buy crack, aids, feminizing black men, jail, criminal injustice but dang there are still black women available despite the efforts of trying to destroy and get rid of us!!! SMDH!!!!!

  • SouthA says:

    Maybe she’s the South African Queen?

  • connie says:

    First of all, I don’t think the pictures are beautiful. Obviously, the model is very pretty, but the pictures are creepy and distasteful because she is obviously not African. If she were born in South Africa, and without the paint, I could buy it because she would be African. But this is just distasteful. Boycotting Numero is not going to do any good because they’ve already received a great deal of publicity in doing this. I would boycott the designers she is wearing. And, her agent should be hung out to dry. Completely inappropriate thing to have this 16 year old involved in 21st Century black face. And people wonder whether having discussions of race are still valid…

  • Seaki Ashe says:

    My take on this ignorance Concerning the above scandal, would it not have been more beautiful and striking to have hired a TRUE ‘African Queen’, a model of african lineage, like Alek Wek. Posing her in these beautiful fashions, having her gaze at the camera, taking us back in time, igniting our imaginations.Visualizing this long, sinewy beauty in all her dark black glory, we would be swept back to the mystical serengetis of Africa, juxtaposing european high fashion with the magical beauty of Africa, all in one picture. Instead, one paints a european model a darker hue and have her ‘mimic’ what Alek Wek was born with naturally. One can not be in the mind of the creator of these images, nor the minds that decided to christen the images “African Queen”. We will never know if their motives were based on racism, as it is difficult to know what is in the heart of such individuals. What is evident is the scandal that such images have created, individuals of color and their supporters around the world crying foul. I blogged about said incident and my own experiences with racism in corporate fashion america : http://seaki.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/numero-magazine-apologizes-for-using-blackface-on-model-creative-license-to-discriminate-or-plain-artistic-freedom/.

  • payday says:

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and
    amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail
    on the head. The issue is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently
    about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my hunt for something regarding this.

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