I’m not sure if supermodel Karlie Kloss needs a new team or simply needs to take an extra second before signing on to things, but she needs to reevaluate her moves. She’s collecting a number of Ls in the public light and might need to chill. Last week, Twitter went off on Kloss after she somehow managed to confuse Beyoncé and TLC; this week? It’s more of the same as her participation in an ill-conceived and racially-insensitive photo shoot for Vogue has the internet up in arms.
While one could argue that the cover for Vogue‘s March 2017 issue might have been a step in the right direction for including the likes of Ashley Graham and other ‘non-conformist’ cover girls (although there are legitimate concerns that it might not have been diverse enough), it’s what’s inside the issue that’s getting people so riled up. The Japanese-themed Spirited Away piece finds Kloss dressed like a geisha, accompanied by a sumo wrestler, and other pastiche imagery. With the whitewashing of Asian culture coming to the fore recently with the casting of Scarlett Johansson in ‘Ghost In The Shell’, this is a questionable move, and Twitter made sure Kloss and Vogue knew just that.
Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton turn to Karlie Kloss. “Your turn, girl.”
Karlie on phone: “Hello, Vogue? Make me Asian.” pic.twitter.com/zgUWIB022Q
— Ira Madison III (@ira) February 14, 2017
Karlie Kloss gets a 6-page spread in yellowface for Vogue’s DIVERSITY ISSUE… while Imaan Hammam & Liu Wen get one pic each… the irony pic.twitter.com/fXn9Ikz7ik
— Nerdy Asians (@NerdyAsians) February 15, 2017
It’s even more troubling when you add in the fact that the photoshoot was part of Vogue‘s much lauded “diversity” issue. C’mon guys, really?
In all fairness, it’s easy to pin this on Kloss but doing so would unfairly absolve both Vogue and the photographer responsible of their blame. It’s hard to pin all of this on Kloss. It was Vogue who paid for the shoot, more than likely came up with the look, and so on, but Kloss (possibly at the direction of her PR team) wisely ended up apologizing for her part in this anyway.
— Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss) February 15, 2017
While an apology is always welcome, the sincerity of it is questionable as this isn’t the first time Kloss has been accused of cultural appropriation. She was embroiled in another controversy at the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, where she wore a Native American-inspired headdress with a fringe bikini and heels down the runway. Either way, some free advice for you Karlie: you might want to get someone to triple check your next moves before making them public. Just saying.