Friday, February 11, 2011

Not So Lucky

I grew up in a small Michigan town that was 93% white. I now live in the valley of Los Angeles where it's 24% -- and I absolutely love it. I always wanted more diversity in my life. I love foreign languages and accents and different skin tones. I constantly ask people where they're from and the history of their families.

I want this same variety when it comes to fashion. I've been reading Lucky Magazine since it came into being. I enjoy the eloquent writing, excellent photography, brilliant style tips and shopping suggestions. But I soon noticed a pattern: the cover models were always white. Even though I'm Caucasian myself, I don't always turn to white people for inspiration.

Me being me, I didn't bite my tongue. I constantly commented on the magazine's Facebook page and sent e-mails to the editor and even started my own petition. Plenty of loyal Lucky readers took a stand with me, but I never received one response from the magazine.

When it came time to renew my subscription, I had to make a decision: do I support this publication that I loved so much about, even though the editorial staff blatantly ignored it's readers' requests for more diversity? There had been no admittance or apology or even denial -- no responses whatsoever.

I wrote one last e-mail. First, I complimented them on a few things I liked about the latest issue (December 2010 at the time), including the Style Report, the Gift Guide, and the new editor-in-chief. And then I told them, once again, how passionate I was about placing a non-Caucasian woman on the cover.

A few days later, I opened my mailbox to find the next issue -- and who was looking back up at me, but another blond bombshell. Kate Bosworth looked dang cute, and if it were any other magazine I would've be excited to read it.

I first posted this entry at my old blog before I made the move to Blogger, and I wanted to share this updated version with my new readers. I also wanted to make sure I wasn't crazy, so I did my research this time around.

During my 1-year subscription, beginning with the April 2010 issue and ending with March 2011, 10 of the 12 cover models were 100% white. The two remaining are Nicole Richie, who has small percentages of Mexican, African American, and Creole descent; and Jessica Szohr, who is 25% African American. The last time a Lucky cover girl was blatantly diverse in her ethnicity was in January 2009 with Rosario Dawson, whose heritage includes Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Native American.

What do you think?


  1. I think they are mostly blonde too!! What about us brunettes? I agree - fashion is international and that should be reflected in magazines too!

  2. I agree, wholeheartedly! Fashion, and beauty is most certainly about diversity, and different body shapes too. Love your thought provoking posts. xx veronika

  3. I think its effing gross. As Yvonne noted, not only have the majority of their cover models in the last year been white (I'm also a subscriber), they are also blonde. What gives?

    I'm also concerned about content. I read in a recent industry publication that the new editor in chief and image makeover for Lucky includes a transition to more "industry typical" (read: skinny) and "conventionally attractive" (read: vapidly pretty) models, and more traditional editorial spreads (read: over-styled and expensive). Part of Lucky's charm is its accessibility, and its every-girl appeal. The fact that the average woman has a shot at being able to afford most of the clothing featured is kind of important. I'm worried that they'll lose their focus, and become just another vapid fantasy lifestyle mag.

    ok, rant over, but I was psyched to see this issue addressed! Keep up the good work!

  4. Wow, that's a really good point! I had noticed the blonde trend, but had never thought deeper to realize they were not only primarily blonde, but also Caucasian!


  5. Wow. That photo collage really brings home a point... dang. Good post. Good topic.

    Honestly, I find the "typically pretty" thing to be a bit.. beige. Neutral. "Safe" and BORING. Yes, those girls are all technically pretty, but nothing stands out, really. I agree, variety is good. Variety makes everything look good, but seeing a different version of the same 'pretty' in the same way over and over... dilutes it for everyone. Give us some flavor, people.

  6. Honey, I love this post, because I love your brain and your heart and your actions! I always also prefer diversity, and I like to practise as I preach, so I live on the east side of Oslo, I work in an area with 70% immigrants from all over the world, and I love it, feeling like one my self after growing up in different European cities and being part English. I often notice how commercials are set up to target one specific group, the blonde, white, 3.2 kids or whatever. One thing is that I never see anyone in mags or tv resembeling moi, but more importantly, kids growing up in Norway are not being showed rolemodels of different colours as much. That becomes a component in the challenge of intergrating teens that lack a sense of belonging to the greater soceity.

    Sorry for leaving such a long comment, I just feel this is an important topic that you are bringing up. As for the mag, if you want to buy it of course you should, if not, surely there are other great mags out there?

    love, Anika

  7. really great post and i also loved reading the other people's comments!

  8. This bothers me to an extent, seeing how I am white, african-american and native american, but ideally these kind of problems have been going on for years and while there is slow progress, one can not expect drastic changes. It is something that will progressively get better. The "race" issue is a never ending battle. Nevertheless, great post! I am glad to see bloggers out there taking chances and really getting into the frit of the fashion biz!


  9. Yeah another great post looking at the cover models you posted for each month 80% of them were blonde the others probably mousey brown. So not only do they not cover people from different ethnic backgrounds they don't feature brunettes either that's kinda crazy!

  10. So uhm, I didn't quite get it - did you renew your subscription?
    I think not, but it's not really in your posting.


  11. I loved this post. This is my first time on your blog but I will definately be coming back. Your argument with lucky is a valid one, and being an aspiring journalist, I admire your investigation.

    I live in Miami where everyone you meet is mixed. And it's such an inspiration to walk down south beach. Everyone's different. And I love it that way. Fashion magazines need a fix-up.

  12. Ohmigosh - I just Googled your blog to see if you'd noted yet another blonde cover girl (Klum). I see you've addressed that already, and then some! 10 out of 12 cover girls blonde Caucasians - do they think no one notices??

    Nicole Richie is indeed of mixed heritage, but...she's made herself blonde. That's enough lack of diversity for me. And I really don't admire her personally as a cover choice for my once-beloved Lucky.

    I gave them one more chance, purchasing the thick March issue from the stands for its info on Spring trends and because I'm somewhat interested in Heidi Klum (she does break the typical fashion cover girl mold in being, really, middle-aged although attractive). But the issue was pretty boring, lacking some of the artfulness, edge, and wit of issues in the France/Linett days.

    I doubt I'll be purchasing again, unless I see a cover girl I'd love to see (I nominated Karen Elson in Lucky's recent contest). Or unless I'm so swept up by Fall trends that I'm lured into buying the September issue. :-/

  13. Thanks for the comments everyone! Glad to see I'm not alone in this. And no, I did not renew my subscription.

  14. Wow this is crazy! They all look the same. How boring! If my tiny city has one thing going for it, it's diversity.

    Last weekend we had what we call our Winter Festival where every nationality has the opportunity to represent themselves in different pavillions across the city. The entire city takes part and we're shuttled from place to place where we get to experience different foods, crafts, clothing, music, dance and much, much more. It's certainly a highlight every year.

    What I'm trying to get at is that I think people for the most part are excited and intrigued by diversity. I wish magazines were more representative of this. Way to take a stand Steph!! x

  15. I saw this post on your old blog and loved it. I definitely agree with you on the lack of diversity- though to be honest I don't want an issues focused on diversity. I want regular non special issues not a hey look we took one month (like Black history month) and stuck a black chick or so on... I'm of mixed heritage and I rarely see that represented anywhere either. At school I hardly ever had a mixed option- I had to settle for other. They wouldn't let me check multiple- and i was always like... Why can't I be both white, black and hispanic? (on that side topic, why is that no longer a race??? it's like listed separately- which is really weird- now they have to identify as hispanic and something else.... which makes no sense unless you're from Spain...)Anyway sorry for the rant. It's this kind of thing why I stopped buying fashion magazines. i'll flip through in the book store of doc office if I see something interesting...but buy? not anymore.

  16. This situation is EXACTLY like the issue that I have with Abercrombie & Fitch.

    Their advertisements are so blatantly SEXIST, and I hate it. They have shirtless dudes on everything in their stores to their bags to their outside advertisements as well. Guy nipples basically run that store. I have seen more than my fair share of men's nips. You know the really upsetting thing? Not one single female nip. NOT ONE.

    I'd like to think that in such a "progressive" country and it being 2011 and all, we'd have gotten past that, and we'd be seeing women's nips everywhere. But I suppose I expect too much of people. I guess advertisers and corporations are still too sexist to allow the display of women's nipples on their advertisements, supporting their brand.

    It sickens me that our country is still stuck in discrimination mode when it comes to nipples. Seriously, women's nips are way better than men's anyways.

    So I will continue my lifelong boycott of A&F until I see some female nips showing off their clothes.

    Can I count on your support?

  17. I think you're quite right - and kudos for jacking in your subscription. It's symptomatic of the lack of commitment to diversity in fashion - in an ideal world, we'd boycott all the mags til they embraced it!

  18. By the way, it may not be your bag, but do you fancy taking part in our Feminist Fashion blog event?

  19. Thank u for ur observation...and shedding light on diversity in the United States. More and more the world is becoming multi-cultural not only through race; but also art, music, etc. You are a better person for embracing change and the dynamic in the world. Continued growth and success to you in life. And you' ve gained another follower!

  20. Just FYI Nicole Ricci is mixed, but your point is absolutely well taken. I didn't see any diversity on that page even in terms of hair color, body type, personal style, or anything. Just one perky smiling blonde with wind in her hair after the other!

  21. I wholeheartedly agree with this post. How about if Esperanza Spalding graces a Lucky Cover? Or Jennifer Hudson. Both ladies have been heavy headline hitters and worthy fashion icon candidates. Really, any diversity would be a welcome change. I think it's time to end my subscription as well.

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