Many readers of British magazine Blackhair were shocked to see a white model on the cover of the December/January 2017 issues, including the model herself.
Emily Bador, a model from the U.K. who identifies as white and Malaysian, apologized in a lengthy Instagram post Monday for allowing her image to be among the magazine's selection.
I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn't understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn't understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can't go to school with natural hair. I didn't understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women. I didn't understand that as a white passing woman I'd be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I'd be persecuted. I didn't understand cultural appropriation. ✨ I do regret doing this. I hold up my hands, I'm so so so sorry and I'm very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I'm not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I'm upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover Black Hair. ✨ I'm so glad I've educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It's important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I'm truly, deeply sorry to anyone I've offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don't make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I've said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don't all think im a massive twat 😔)
"I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially," the model wrote. "I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn't understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature."
Complex reports that the magazine has a "longstanding policy that their models must be 'of black or mixed-race heritage.'"
Bador admitted she had regrets about participating in the shoot that took place about three to four years ago, and never expected her image to land on the cover.
I know I don't reply to every comment on my instagram but I thought I should mention I'm so grateful for all you amazin lot following me and every single comment means so much to me and when y'all have had my back when I get hate, n it reminds me how even when the world is seemingly shit we just gotta love n support n be kind each other ❤️ n you lot are literally the best and sometimes I think I could learn a lesson or two from ya
"I'm so so so sorry and I'm very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I'm upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover," Bador penned on the photo that has over 4,000 likes.
The heartfelt note continued with the model commenting on her upbringing in a "very very white city," and the "very Eurocentric beauty standard" she learned through mainstream media while growing up.
@Blackhairmags this cover makes no sense to what you stand for!? Smh
— OG✨ (@Olivia_Gold) November 21, 2016
— Black Spice (@MissFBlackSpice) November 23, 2016
As for the magazine, editor Keysha Davis issued an apology and noted that the image was selected through a PR company. They were not aware that the model was not of black or mixed-race heritage.
"We are keenly aware of how black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the last thing we want to do is add to our erasure," Davis wrote on Facebook.
"In this ever-changing world, race will surely become even more fluid and no doubt conversations around Black identity will continue to change, and we definitely welcome the dialogue."
Last year, HuffPost Style Canada did a report on diversity among Canadian fashion magazines and of the 124 people featured on 80 covers published in 2015, only 13 could be identified as people of colour. Seven cover stars were black, three were Asian, two were Latina, and one was indigenous.
Here's to hoping we see more diverse magazine covers in 2017.