Vogue Celebrates Diversity By Featuring Karlie Kloss in Yellowface?

Vogue Celebrates Diversity By Featuring Karlie Kloss in Yellowface?

Model Karlie Kloss has apologized for cultural appropriation in a recent photospread for Vogue magazine.


The Huffington Post reports Vogue had intended to release its March issue in celebration of diversity and inclusion. When photos from the issue were leaked, people started questioning the nature of some of the shoots.

In particular: one which was “Spirited Away” themed.

The spread showed supermodel Karlie Kloss dressed as a Japanese geisha, posing throughout Japan’s Ise-Shima National Park. Mikael Jansson was the photographer behind the lens, while Phyllis Posnick was in charge of styling.

They decided to do away with Kloss’ signature blonde hair, replacing it with long dark hair. Her skin also appears paler than usual, and she appears draped in traditional Japanese patterns and kimonos.

Professor of women’s studies and affiliate of the Centre for Japanese Studies, Mire Koikari, told Huffington Post the images were questionable. “It strikes me as an example of ‘Asian face’ or ‘Yellow Face,’ a problematic practice long existent in the history of racism in the U.S., where white men and women alter their facial features to ‘pass’ as ‘Orientals’."

She also says the images only reinforce overly sexualised understandings of Asian women.