Critics pooh-pooh “too white” mixed-race Adwoah Aboah on her first British Vogue cover

November 12, 2017

Africa, Arts & Culture, Society/Living

Is the new black still too white, ask critics of Vogue’s ‘washout’ cover of Adwoa Aboah?

– James Gillespie, Mary O’Connor & Iram Ramzan/London Times




Adwoa Aboah at Paris fashion week and as she appears on the cover of Vogue [PASCAL LE SEGRETAIN]


The model Adwoa Aboah is known in the fashion world for her mixed-race background and the scattering of freckles on her face, which is why her picture on the front of the latest British Vogue may come as a surprise.

The first edition under the magazine’s first black editor, Edward Enninful, carried a shoot of Aboah wearing unusually heavy make-up (for her), with her distinctive freckles only slightly visible and looking a good deal paler than she has appeared on other magazine covers.

Aboah, who is of British and Ghanaian descent, said on social media: “Never in a million years did I think that one day I’d be on the cover of British Vogue even more so one that marks such a monumental change and a new beginning.”

Some observers, however, raised questions over her appearance.

“Is it just us or does she look extremely light and freckle-less in her cover shot?” wrote fashion blogger Sharn Rayment on the Shevolution website. Compared with other shoots, the Vogue cover “feels almost washed out”, Rayment added.

Alexandra Shulman, the former editor of Vogue, has admitted that if she featured a black model on the cover who was not immediately recognisable, then sales fell.

“You would sell fewer copies. It’s as simple as that,” she said in an interview in The Guardian yesterday.

The circulation of the magazine’s combined print and digital edition is currently 190,021, slightly down on last year’s average of 195,083. Shulman was credited with increasing circulation by 12% during her 25 years as editor.

During that time, Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn were the only black models to be featured on their own on the cover.



SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2017. 12:55 P.M. [GMT]



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