Hallelujah! Not only does Joan Smalls look beyond amazing on the cover of Elle, but she’s not afraid to let the magazine know that they need to hammer out their race issues, stat.
The gorgeous Puerto Rican model drops some truth bombs in this January’s issue– while simultaneously winning the very coveted Hayley’s Favorite Eyebrows Ever award. She kills it in her interview, calling bullshit on photographers who act like it’s just coincidence that they rarely shoot women of color:
People hide behind the word ‘aesthetic.’ They say, ‘Well, it’s just that designer’s aesthetic.’ But when you see 18 seasons in a row and not one single model outside a certain skin color? There are people in the industry who are advocates, who support diversity. And there are people who do not. I don’t get it. Beauty is universal. These doors have to open.
Hell yeah. What a champion.
Elle has a long-standing history of using primarily white cover models, but recently they appear to be making more of an effort to diversify. As the HuffPo pointed out, they were the first of the big-name women’s mags to put Kerry Washington on a cover. (But, obviously, they don’t deserve praise for featuring a hugely famous actress– the fact that Kerry wasn’t a covergirl until last June just further demonstrates how far we still have to go.) I’m not sure if any of these efforts make up for last month’s debacle when they coined the term “North Korea Chic,” but that’s another story.
Here’s hoping Elle plans to follow through with their promises, and that the magazine will actually become a more inclusive place for WOC in the coming year. Here’s also hoping that Joan Smalls and her flawless eyebrows will continue to get the attention they deserve.