Ashley Graham is defending Vogue’s “modern American women” March 2017 cover. The model, 28, reacted to some critics who speculated that she was directed to put her hand on her thigh to make herself appear smaller next to her fellow models. Some people have also accused the magazine of Photoshopping Gigi Hadid’s arm to cover part of Graham’s torso. Find out more in the video above, and detailed below.
Graham, who has been a vocal advocate for body diversity in the fashion industry, addressed the speculation on Instagram, in the comments section of her post about the cover, her first American Vogue.
“I chose to pose like that,” she wrote in the comments on Wednesday, February 8. “No one told me to do anything.”
Graham is featured on the cover with fellow models Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Vittoria Ceretti, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah and Liu Wen. Unlike Graham, the rest of the women have their hands wrapped around one another’s waists and their full legs are shown.
Criticism aside, Graham couldn’t be prouder of the cover. Earlier in the day, the America’s Next Top Model judge posted two photos from the spread. “Dream. Come. True!” she captioned one pic on Instagram. “THANK YOU @voguemagazine for having me on your cover!!”
Graham explained in Vogue why diversity is so important in the fashion industry. “Sixty-seven percent of the women in America wear a size 14 or larger. Sixty-seven percent. Maybe you could ignore those consumers before, but now, thanks to social media, they’re making their voices heard. Women are demanding that brands give them what they want. And what they want is to be visible,” she said. “Designers aren’t the only ones pushing fashion in an all-embracing direction.”
The magazine has been criticized for another reason, however. Some readers have said the cover is not diverse enough, despite Vogue touting the models as part of “The Beauty Shakeup.”
“In a climate of immigration bans and building walls, the biggest names in 2017 make the case that there isn’t just one type of American girl — nor has there ever been,” writer Maya Singer declared in the cover story.
Many took issue with how all seven models are tall and have light to medium skin tones. “Why using photoshop vogue,” one commenter tweeted. A second added: “so sorry but i don’t find the march vogue us cover ‘modern.’”
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