Fashion Mag Uses Photos of White Model to Illustrate ‘African Queen’ Editorial


International fashion magazine Numero is raising some eyebrows with its choice of photography for an editorial titled, “African Queen.” The piece features 16-year-old Ondria Hardin — a caucasian model — with heavily darkened skin.

Foudre calls Hardin’s appearance blackfacebody, and writes, “why hire a black model when you could just paint a white one!”

Here are a selection of the photographs found in the piece:



Laura Beck over at Jezebel writes,

It’s impossible to look at this and not ache for young women of color who want to pursue careers in modeling (and arguably, fashion by extension). When they don’t see themselves on the runway or in magazines, it could be very easy for them to think, “huh, I guess modeling isn’t for me.” Then the status quo reigns, and the runways remain monotone. If jobs for “African Queen” photo spreads aren’t going to black women, what hope is there?

Julee Wilson of the Huffington Post offers a similar criticism:

[…] the editorial serves as another sad example of how the fashion industry continually ignores or exploits ethnic diversity rather than celebrating it. And to think how easy it would have been for Numéro to select one of the countless beautiful black models and avoid this justifiable backlash and contribution to an unrelenting problem.

Beck also did some digging, and found that Hardin’s modeling agency has a number of black models on its roster that could possibly have been used for this shoot.

Thanks for the tip, Sam!

  • ilo photo

    The average PetaPixel post gets what, 10 comments? I think Numero knew EXACTLY what they were doing here…

  • Ron Tungol


  • Matt

    To be frank, that is kind of the problem. You state “your fellow whites” which is just showing your prejudice. You could have just of easily said “Those jerks”, which would have been appropriate as well as stronger language. But, instead you group all people of a color together. So, it is OK for you to be prejudice, but not “those people’? Thats the issue, it is not OK in either situation. We need to be We, not us and them. If I personally do not show prejudice, but you do to me that is not really an advancement. We need to call out the people who are prejudice, not blame their prejudice on a whole group.
    This marketing is flawed. I agree both with the comments that a woman of african heratige should have been the model. And, also that some of the actual clothes are kind of flawed charactization of African heratige. Is it racist, ya. But, to then lump all people in to any groups based upon whatever is not any kind of solution, at best it is a flawed ethical grandstanding.
    Prejudice and racism is not the providence of white people. Unfortunately I have witnessed it over many cultures, heratiges, sexuality, weight and so on. It is a flaw in us all. The sin so to speak is not that it exists in us ,but rather we allow it to rule our actions or worse the actions of others.

  • Leon Wallace

    n a word, this phenomenon has been called “‘Colourism'”. Colourism can also come down to a latent class bias: worldwide, lighter skin (relative to one’s own people) has typically been associated with wealth and lounging around indoors, and darker with poverty and working in the fields. Not until sometime around the mid-20th century did the trends start to reverse; the USA led a new trend which saw those with wealth being able to afford extended vacations or holidays, and the sun-induced tans that came with them.

    Skin colour is only the most obvious manifestation of the underlying theme of casting people on the basis of something other than their acting style and/or ability. For example, an Asian actor might be asked to cover his eyes or a black actress asked to straighten her hair. Colourism is a subset of “degreeism” in which members of a marginalized group rank themselves based on how closely they resemble the dominant group.

    Variations of this casting trope are also seen in Latin America, Northern Africa/Middle East, and East Asia. This trope is a common source of Unfortunate Implications; given this trope’s prevalence throughout the world’s entertainment industries, there are numerous variations on this trope listed below. Note also how the changing definitions of desirability have resulted in new and/or different hiring biases over time.

    Also see But Not Too Foreign, and Ambiguously Brown. Contrast with But Not Too White.

    Not to be confused with Light Is Not Good or Pass Fail, though it can be somewhat related to the latter insofar as the casting choice is concerned.

  • nick

    Wow, This is pathetic and these pictures are horrible. They don’t look natural at all !

  • harumph

    If they wanted to get a bunch of people angry at them, and a bunch of racists to defend them, then yeah, mission accomplished.

  • Shantell Bingham

    Firstly, everyone knows the White chicks was a comedy. This is not a comedy. This is a serious advertisement about beauty trying to get at the fact that while color skin has now become more acceptable our key features (nose, lips, hair) should be washed away. Basically, we should all become michael jackson, janet jackson, halle berry, beyonce etc. and get nose jobs, and wigs/weaves to look more “ideal.” I honestly don’t understand where any of you are coming from. Do you really think it was okay to call a white girl in black face an African Queen?

  • JC

    You are correct about the wayans brothers movie, but it doesn’t justify why they should have used a painted white model and called her an African Queen. It’s upsetting and insensitive to women of color.

  • JC

    Criss cross, what racism have you experienced ? I would certainly like to know.

  • JC

    So, African Americans should grow thicker skin and get over slavery and jim crow. I guess Jews should grow thicker skin and get over the holocaust as well. YOU ARE AN ABSOLUTE MORON!!!

  • JC

    You’re a moron as well! I’m African American and I’m offended! As an African American women you get use to the stereotypes because you’re taught at a young age that “Black is Beautiful”. When I see advertisements like this it makes me feel like individuals want to look like us. That’s why individuals get breast implants, butt implants, lip injections, and tan their skin. They know subconsciously “Black is Beautiful”.

  • Mspinelli91

    Literally, I can’t understand this. Don’t you see that by attacking white people you are just furthering the divide between races? Why can’t we move toward understanding? Gosh.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    I’m not attacking people – just their ignorant attitudes

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    I’m glad there is at least one person here that’s aware of the privilege that white people have in this world

  • WKYA_Radio

    This is a straw man argument, and is a pretty pathetic tactic to attack the problem head on.

    Sometimes your stance is referred to as ‘two wrongs dont make a right’.

    The world will move further when people like you take you head out of your asses and realize that until YOU change your actions, there will never be equality among people.

    How to stop oppression? Kill the oppressors, or outsmart them.

  • WKYA_Radio

    This is one of those times where you should learn and get smarter. Sounds like you are old enough in that you ‘stop trying’ to better yourself.

    When you stop learning, you’re essentially dead.

  • WKYA_Radio

    Please get smarter. Sheesh.

    Care to explain why this isnt racist? Its offensive, even in the least.

  • WKYA_Radio

    good question- did it work?

  • WKYA_Radio

    Nice try. No ones buying that BS.

  • ripley

    The type of racism that they’re talking about is individual racism. For example when I was about 6, I witnessed a white kid being called “stupid white” by a black kid. This is a form of racism as she was specifically drawing attention to his skin colour. However, the racism that you’re talking about is much broader, such as having white privilege. For example, the white people at my place of work who didn’t see what was wrong with having a costume day themed as “Cowboys and Indians”, where one person dressed up as a “Red Indian”. etc etc etc so on and so forth.

  • ripley

    I know non-white people who hate being called “people of colour”, because according to them, it infers that white is no colour, and therefore the standard, and everyone else is the alternative.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    nope. calling a kid “stupid white kid” isn’t racism. people like to call it “reverse racism” but that’s not right either as it doesn’t exist. you can call it ‘prejudice’ or ‘discrimination’ but you can’t call it racism. White people like to call racism because of their so apparent privilege – they seem to think that people hating them equates to centuries worth of slavery and genocide against PoC and that if they can’t call it racism that some how makes it even worse and people are suppressing their feelings but that’s not it – they’re allowed to feel discriminated against, no one is taking that away from them but they have no possible idea what racism is – and to call it racism is to just piss all over what PoC have endured and fought against and still experience on a day to day basis.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    Ok, well, first of all it’s interesting that you refer to the people that you know as “non-white”. That alone tells me what you really think about them, and “People of Colour” is a widely accepted term used by white and PoC alike – I’m not saying that the people you know are wrong, far from it, it’s perfectly fine that they hate the term – but you carry on with “non-white” and see how far describing people based on what they are not, rather than what they are, gets you.

  • PDB

    The White Female Version of Al Jolson in black face! SMH!

  • PDB

    Yeah, you can try to whip people of color, and soon as you try, I’ll be quickly putting 5 bullets in your head! Who needs these people of Colorless!

  • Sata Nyoko

    @criss cross. Great reply. As a former Rhodesian who also experienced racism in Bulawayo I just wanted to say thanks for your erudite answer. Adam Cross from his profile seems to be just another vegan tree hugging apologist for his race. He has no idea of anything outside of his own little bubble.

  • beautifulafricanqueen.78

    There are too many REAL, Beautiful Black African Queens in the modeling industry, why hire someone of another race to pose of one???

  • Dee Hold

    Why would someone go to all that trouble to paint a white woman black when you could have used a black woman for the shoot. Just does not seem logical. As for the Annie comparisons, that is a little different the girl is not pretending to be a white girl (i.e. they won’t paint her white for the role), she is playing a role that traditionally is thought of as that of a white girl, much like the role of Gwen in the Arthur TV series from Britain.

    In Argo Ben Afleck’s role is that of a person of Hispanic origin, in Prince of Persia all main characters were white and many others. The reason it is more of a problem when the roles of minorities are played by white actors, is that often minority characters are not cast in typically ‘white’ roles even when the race of the main character is not defined, so when the few roles that they could play are given to white actors it further reduces their chances of getting roles.

    The same argument could be made here, as minority women are already under utilized this is rather a sad example of the lengths people will go to not to use black women.

    Still as a black woman, I would be happy just to see normal sized women used more often, the fashion industry does not design for real women it designs for fantasy women. I learned long ago not to care what the fashion industry considered beauty and this is just one more example of why.

  • LOL!

    Sorry but they are trying to sell clothes to ladies with money. THAT is what they are thinking. Now stop impregnating your women of color and stop leaving them when they get your baby. Oh and stop hitting on white girls if you think all whites are the oppressors. YES I am talking to you black men!! Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and help out black women so that they can build up good lives too and have money to buy these clothes. Enough said. And Africans, stop mutilating women’s clitorises. Please, really?? Stop hurting black women yourselves!!!

  • IKnowYou

    Sorry, but they are trying to sell clothes to ladies with money. THAT is what they are thinking. Now stop impregnating your women of color and stop leaving them when they get your baby. Oh and stop hitting on white girls if you think all whites are the oppressors. YES I am talking to you black men!! Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and help out black women so that they can build up good lives too and have money to buy these clothes. Enough said. And Africans, stop mutilating women’s clitorises. Please, really?? Stop hurting black women yourselves!!!!!

  • Robin

    It’s just the part where they said, “why hire a black model when you can just paint a white one?” That made no sense to me. Why waist paint on somebody when you can just get an actual black model? That’s my thought on it. *shrugs* We all got our reasons. I’m not gonna argue over it.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Even if they are a minority in a non-white country?