Gigi Hadid recently became the center of backlash after her new Vogue Italia cover appeared to show her with darkened skin. After the image—photographed by Steven Klein—was unveiled on social media yesterday, commenters pointed out that the 22-year-old model didn’t look like herself, and some even accused the publication of blackface.
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This afternoon, Hadid responded to the backlash with a message on social media. In a lengthy message, she pointed out the lack of creative control she had over the cover, apologised to those she offended, and urged the fashion industry to push for more diversity moving forward.
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— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) May 3, 2018
Read Gigi’s message below in full:
This is a photo of me returning home from shooting my Italian Vogue cover on April 3rd… you can see the level I had been bronzed to on set that day. Please understand that my control of a shoot 1. is non existent in terms of creative direction 2. ends completely when I leave set, and anything done to a photo in post is out of my control fully.
The bronzing and photoshop is a style that S.Klein has done for many years and I believe was what was expected from the shoot (to show me in a different way creatively), BUT, although I understand what Vogue Italia’s intentions were, it was not executed correctly, and the concerns that have been brought up are valid.
I want to address this for those who were offended by the editing/retouching/coloring of the cover. Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different.
Regardless, I want to apologize because my intention is never to diminish those concerns or take opportunities away from anyone else, and I hope this can be an example to other magazines and teams in the future.
There are real issues regarding representation in fashion—it’s our responsibility to acknowledge those issues and communicate through them to work towards a more diverse industry.
Hadid shared her note with a paparazzi photo of herself from the day of the shoot, showing how bronzed she was when her photos were taken. She’s covered up in a hoodie and hiding her face with her hand and a pair of sunglasses, but it’s evident that her face looked bronzer than usual.
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This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.