Vogue’s “Washed Out” Kamala Harris Cover Draws Controversy
The Democratic senator, who is set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 as the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to assume the job of Vice President, appears on the cover of the elite fashion magazine’s February 2021 issue wearing a black blazer, white top, black pants, as well as two of her signature looks—Converse sneakers and a string of pearls. She is standing amid a green backdrop draped with pink satin fabric—a nod to her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
A photo of this cover was leaked online Saturday, Jan. 9, and later confirmed to be authentic by Vogue. The image drew much criticism on social media.
In a statement released to E! News, Vogue explained that the goal of the shoot was to emphasize Harris’ “approachable” personality.
“The team at Vogue loved the images Tyler Mitchell shot and felt the more informal image captured Vice President-elect Harris’s authentic, approachable nature—which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration,” the statement read. “To respond to the seriousness of this moment in history, and the role she has to play leading our country forward, we’re celebrating both images of her as covers digitally.”
An insider tells E! News that the magazine collaborated closely with Harris on the creative decisions including the styling for the shoot, and that both looks were chosen by the VP-elect and her team.
“Kamala Harris is about as light skinned as women of color come and Vogue still f–ked up her lighting,” tweeted one user. “WTF is this washed out mess of a cover?
Another person wrote that the image “is washed out, poorly lit, stagnant, junk. How could you do such a disservice to a vibrant, beautiful woman? Shameful.”