Hold Up, Is Gigi Hadid’s Blackface Apology Her Most Sincere Yet?

Given her history, we didn't expect her to say this

Model Gigi Hadid posing. She recently responded to the blackface allegations

(Photo: iMax Tree)

Gigi Hadid is used to saying sorry, but this time it sounds like she really means it.

On May 3, the 23-year-old model apologized on social media for her recent Vogue Italia cover where her skin appears to be intentionally darkened. Online commenters accused the mag of putting the model in blackface and photoshopping her beyond recognition for the cover of their May issue. Hadid responded to the online backlash by posting a message on Twitter and Instagram saying the photoshoot was “not executed correctly, and the concerns that have been brought up are valid.”

Hadid posted a pic of her leaving right after the Vogue Italia shoot in an effort to show fans that her skin had been heavily bronzed, but also added that some of the changes to her appearance were done long after she left the set. “Please understand that my control of a shoot 1. is non existent in terms of creative direction 2. ends completely when I leave set, and anything done to a photo in post is out of my control fully,” she wrote in a social media post. “The bronzing and photoshop is a style that S.Klein has done for many years and I believe was what was expected from the shoot (to show me in a different way creatively).”

But, instead of just blaming Vogue Italia‘s creative team—which has a history of racist features—and photographer Steven Klein, Hadid tried to take responsibility for her role in the shoot, writing, “I want to address this for those who were offended by the editing/retouching/colouring of the cover. Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different.”

“Regardless, I want to apologize because my intention is never to diminish those concerns or take opportunities away from someone else,” she wrote. “I hope this can be an example to other magazines and teams in the future.”

Condé Nast International also released a statement to Teen Vogue acknowledging the controversial cover, saying in part: “In our latest cover shoot by Steven Klein, the vision was to create a beachwear-themed story with a stylized bronzing effect. We understand that the result has caused some debate with our readers, and we sincerely apologize if we have caused any offence.”

While Hadid sounds like she’s *actually* sorry for the controversial shoot, this isn’t the first time she’s been called out for being culturally insensitive.

The time she mocked Asian features

In September 2017, the Victoria’s Secret Angel reportedly apologized for a Snapchat video that showed her imitating the face of Buddha by squinting her eyes and smiling. Fans in China called the clip “discrimination” and many on social media saw the act as racist toward Asian people. The video, which was filmed by her younger sister Bella back in February, caused a second wave of anger when it was announced that the Gigi was walking in Victoria’s Secret’s 2017 fashion show in Shanghai (she ultimately did not walk in the show).

As reported by Teen Vogue, Hadid said sorry for the racist vid on Chinese social media site Weibo, writing that “it was never [her] intent to offend anyone through [her] actions.” Many weren’t satisfied with her apology, however, as Weibo is only accessible in China, and she didn’t post the same note on her other social platforms like Twitter or IG.

Apology rating: 4/10

The time she impersonated Melania Trump

While co-hosting the 2016 American Music Awards, Hadid did an impression of Melania Trump—but not everyone found it funny. In an accent and pouty face, Hadid poked fun at the First Lady’s address at the Republican National Convention, which was called out for being eerily similar to the speech given by former First Lady Michelle Obama. “I love my husband, President Barack Obama, and our children, Sasha and Malia,” Hadid said, alongside co-host Jay Pharoah.

Pharoah said that the impression was “spot on,” but some social media users disagreed, calling the impression classless and prompting yet another apology from Hadid. In this case, the model wrote a handwritten note and shared it on social media explaining that she too has been the subject of comedy skits and believes that “Melania understands show business and the way shows are written and run.”

“I apologize to anyone that I offended and have only the best wishes for our country,” she added.

Apology rating: 5/10. She sounds sorry, but not that sorry.

The time she was the face of the “gender fluid” issue of Vogue

Back in July 2017 when Hadid was dating One Direction bad boy Zayn Malik, the two appeared on the cover of Vogue‘s August issue. Their accompanying cover story was headlined, “Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik are Part of a New Generation Embracing Gender Fluidity,” which was not correct since neither of them identify as gender fluid.

In the article, Hadid and Malik were quoted as saying they often borrow each other’s clothes—which, for the record, is not the same thing as gender fluidity, as numerous online commenters quickly pointed out. In response to the backlash, Vogue issued an apology saying: “The story was intended to highlight the impact the gender-fluid, non-binary communities have had on fashion and culture. We are very sorry the story did not correctly reflect that spirit—we missed the mark. We do look forward to continuing the conversation with greater sensitivity.”

Apology rating: 0/10, since Hadid didn’t actually apologize herself.

The time she was accused of blackface the first time

The most recent Vogue Italia controversy is basically déjà vu. In 2015, the young model posed on Vogue Italia‘s November cover in an Afro-style wig and what looked to be darkened skin. Naturally, people were not impressed, and many called out the mag for appropriating Black culture and using blackface.

Apology rating: N/A. In response to the racist shoot, Hadid…wait a minute, I don’t think Hadid OR Vogue Italia ever apologized for this at the time. Hadid, let us know if you’re sorry?

While Hadid has clearly been in hot water before, here’s hoping she stops doing things that require an apology in the first place.


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