Kendall Jenner hasn’t been having a great month. First, she starred in a now infamously tone-deaf Pepsi ad. Then she was involved with the hilariously disastrous Fyre Festival. Now, she’s being featured on an Indian magazine cover — and some people aren’t having it.
Vogue India revealed earlier this week that the reality TV star and supermodel would grace the cover of its 10th anniversary issue.
While the publication has featured multiple non-Indian women on the cover before — including Beyonce, Rihanna and Gisele Bundchen — some are seething because the landmark issue, celebrating a decade of the magazine, opted to put Jenner, a white woman, on the cover.
Editor-in-chief Priya Tanna wrote that Jenner “is this generation’s most followed and photographed millennial.”
Jenner is a supermodel, of course, but the problem comes from the fact that an Indian publication would put a white American woman on the cover, instead of celebrating or paying homage to the country it’s from. There are plenty of Bollywood stars and Indian or South Asian models that could’ve taken her place. Actress Priyanka Chopra, along with Bollywood stars like Anushka Sharma and Alia Bhatt have all been on multiple covers and were viable cover-lady candidates.
Many women called out Vogue India for not including South Asian women in its anniversary issue.
“Did brown women cease to exist??” wrote one user.
“Vogue India has a country and a diaspora of stunning brown women… and a KardashianJenner gets the cover of the biggest anniversary to date,” wrote another.
You can see a smattering of responses below.
Kendal Jenner on the cover of vogue India…did brown ppl die ??? Did brown women cease to exist ?? Can candle even point out India on a map
— dukhi (@mairanotmaria2) May 3, 2017
— Anita (@aikyaanita) May 4, 2017
Kendall Jenner is on the 10 yr anniversary cover of Vogue India. The few opps brown women have to shine are given to white women I'm tiredt pic.twitter.com/D0NoyJeemG
— eemi (@eemanabbasi) May 3, 2017
WHY THE HELL IS KENDALL JENNER THE FACE OF VOGUE INDIA. THERE ARE SO MANY BEAUTIFUL INDIAN WOMEN OUT THERE AND YOU CHOOSE HER?!?!?!?!
— Lajja Majmundar (@lajja_majmundar) May 3, 2017
Vogue India has a country and a diaspora of stunning brown women… and a KardashianJenner gets the cover of the biggest anniversary to date
— Desi Girl Problems (@My_DesiGirl) May 3, 2017
India has a historically uncomfortable relationship with whiteness (colonialism anybody?), but Indian entertainment has a long featured fair and light-skinned women on magazine covers and in film. The skin-lightening industry is also huge in the densely populated country, worth around $450 million in 2016, according to a New Statesman article.
Right or wrong, putting a white woman on the cover instead of a South Asian or Indian one seems to only affirm this.
*Vogue India meeting*
-so how are we gonna celebrate 10 years of Vogue India?
-I KNOW!!PUT A WHITE WOMAN TO REMIND THEM OF COLONIZATION!!! pic.twitter.com/YkNKlzMNoC
— Farah☥ (@farahorsomethin) May 3, 2017