Vogue Sparks Outrage After Kamala Harris’ ‘Washed Out’ Cover Photo

kamala harris

For its February issue, Vogue features Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on its cover, drawing criticism for the cover’s “washed out” look.

The controversy: According to CNN, the leaked image of the fashion publication’s cover circulated online on Sunday, prompting many disappointed reactions from users on social media. 

  • The polarizing image shows Harris, the first Asian American and Black Vice President-elect, in a casual outfit and Converse sneakers, which she often wore on campaign trails.
  • Most of the criticisms center around the plain and poorly lit appearance of the photo.
  • One user called it a “washed out mess of a cover.”

The two covers: In response to the leaked cover, Vogue revealed that there were two covers shot, one for printed and the other for digital.

  • The digital cover depicts Harris in a powder blue suit against a gold backdrop.
  • Both images were shot by Tyler Mitchell, who famously became the first Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover when he captured Beyoncé for the magazine’s September 2018 issue.
  • According to Harris’s team, the image chosen by Vogue is not what both sides had agreed upon, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
  • The team was “unaware that the cover photo had been switched” until the leak.

Vogue’s response: In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Vogue said it went with the casual photo because of its “authentic, approachable nature, which [Vogue] feel[s] is one of the hallmarks of the Biden-Harris administration.”

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  • This is not the first time Vogue has garnered controversy for its depiction of people of color.
  • Last summer in 2020, its editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, admitted in a company-wide internal memo that she had failed to elevate Black creators, as reported by The Guardian.

Feature Image via Getty

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