Supermodel Liya Kebede has nabbed the May 2015 cover of Vogue Paris, making her the first woman of color to appear on the cover in five years.
The last Black woman to be featured on the cover of the high fashion publication was model Rose Cordero, in March 2010. Although this is a joyous moment for Kebede, it also continues to highlight the magazine’s notorious reputation for its lack of diversity in its choices of cover girls and models. Before Jourdan Dunn graced the cover of Vogue UK in February 2015, Vogue hadn’t featured a Black model on its cover in 12 years.
Although the U.S. edition of the publication is a bit more diverse, featuring multiple women of color a year, a study on diversity in fashion from The Fashion Spot found that women’s fashion magazines overwhelmingly featured White models over Black models on their covers in 2014.
For their assessment, TFS looked at 44 major magazine titles and assessed 611 covers. Out of the 611 covers, they discovered that White models appeared on the covers of 567 issues, while women of color appeared just 119 times. That’s 19 percent of covers in 2014.
But that’s not all, several magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar U.S. and U.K., Vogue U.K., Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Paris, Teen Vogue, Numéro, LOVE, Porter, and many more, featured absolutely no Black women on their covers at all in 2014.
The biggest offender, however, was Vogue U.K., which hadn’t featured an African American model on a solo cover in 12 years. Naomi Campbell (2012), Beyoncé (2013), Rihanna (2011) and Salma Hayek (2003) have each appeared on a solo cover.
*Models of color were categorized as those who appear to be nonwhite or of mixed backgrounds. Models included in the Latin category are classified as nonwhite Latins that do not appear to be strongly Afro-Latin.