Kate Upton poses with endangered baby animals in Bazaar: adorable or sketchy?

Here are some photos from a Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot featuring Kate Upton and some exotic baby animals. There’s a lot of controversy, of course, but before I wade into it, can I just say something? I love Upton’s styling in these photos? It’s sort of retro, but it’s also really flattering. I like that she’s not pushing her boobs on us, and I also like that Bazaar got some hair and makeup people who weren’t hypnotized by her breasts and actually put in the effort to make her look great.

Now, on to the controversy. This pictorial is called “The Animal Nursery” and I guess the theme is good-hearted and big-breasted Kate is some kind of stylish nurse to baby animals, and she poses winningly while holding up various animals. The shoot was styled by Carine Roitfeld and it will appear in all 26 international editions of the magazine. This is hardly the first time a major fashion magazine seemed tone-deaf about how fashion pictorials are “accessorized”. Vogue has gotten in trouble by using actual BABIES as accessories for fashion shoots, and just a few months ago, Vogue did an absolutely terrible shoot in the areas of New York and New Jersey devastated by Hurricane Sandy. So where does “using endangered baby animals” fall on the list of editorial disasters? Eh.

Fashionista reached out to Harper’s Bazaar, but no one at the magazine would issue any statements. Fashionists also reached out to Zoological Wildlife Foundation, which apparently provided the animals for the shoot, and they wouldn’t go on the record either. But PETA did, of course. Here’s PETA’s statement to Fashionista:

“The gibbon featured in the photographs is an infant and should be with his mother at all times. Besides the emotional trauma that he has undoubtedly suffered as a result of the separation, his delicate immune system is still developing, and he is susceptible to illnesses that humans carry. All the animals in the photographs are endangered and should be protected, rather than being treated like props.”

[PETA’s statement, via Fashionista]

Aw, the gibbon should be with his mom. Damn. As for the little tiger… I’m kind of in love with him. I bet he has those super-sharp kitten claws too. That’s actually what bothers me the most about this shoot – that they had all of those baby animals together on the set. What if the baby tiger thought the baby gibbon was a playmate and those sharp kitten claws come out and then…? Disaster.

Photos courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar, Kate Upton’s Twitter & the Mail.

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74 Responses to “Kate Upton poses with endangered baby animals in Bazaar: adorable or sketchy?”

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  1. Yellowshaba says:

    I kinda liked her when she first came out now I’m over it..

  2. brin says:

    Very irresponsible (keeping all of the animals together).
    WTH…those boots!

  3. Tania says:

    I think she’s very pretty and I’m glad to see a woman of more substantial proportions modelling high fashion. But two things. 1. Must her mouth always be open? And 2. Did they have to pair those brown leather boots with that dress? The combination looks hideous.

  4. sauvage says:

    Good Lord, please support the cat babies’ hind legs. They HATE dangling, every cat lover know’s that!

  5. Rhea says:

    She looks good, of course. But I wish she could show different expression in her face.

    Speaking about posing with animal, I remember when I was 9 years old—my mom made me took a pose at the zoo with an adult tiger by hugging it around the neck and told me to smile when that’s exactly the last thing I want to do. *shiver*

  6. Buckwild says:

    I’m sure they had the proper handlers for the animals, so there was no “baby tiger mistaking the gibbon” etc. so if that’s the concern, doesn’t really stick. If the concern is accessorizing with exotic animals, well PETA seems to be the only one that cares….

    Another thing: another mouth-breather!

    • Amanda says:

      That’s disrespectful towards the animals though, and wearing fur, oh please. Another thing, the girl is a joke, she has no personality and one facial expression only.

    • Jenny says:

      PETA doesn’t give a sh*t about animals. They just care about putting out statements that get them the most press.

      Personally, I don’t know if it was a great idea or not to use the baby animals. While it could possibly raise awareness of the animals’ endangered status, it also seems it could be unsafe for them. I guess if the ZWF thought it was fine, it probably is.

      • Zoid says:

        A very large complaint to this is that the animals are being treated like accessories. They aren’t. They are wild creatures, they shouldn’t be trained to pose around humans in the name of fashion. There is no bigger picture or awareness being raised. It’s them being used as props. Animals in the entertainment industry are usually drugged up or suffer emotional trauma. (More common for actual movies though). Makes me sad.

  7. Lucy2 says:

    I kind of like the retro styling, but am not a fan of using endangered animals as photo shoot props.

  8. Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

    Her body is a throwback to the 60′s love it. Not everyone finds visible muscles their favourite look.

    But dammit, close your mouth sometimes.

  9. Faye says:

    I don’t know enough about animals to say if it was animal endangerment. Hopefully there was someone on the set who knew enough to take care of them.

    I love the green blazer and brown/white coat/dress outfits. Christina Hendricks should wear things like that.

  10. Nanea says:

    Peta has lost all credibility with about everyone I know long ago, and then Ingrid Newkirk went ahead in a recent Guardian interview and called keeping animals enslavement, while posing for photos with her pet rabbit.

  11. Dhavynia says:

    1-Thank you for the boob coverage
    2-pretty but same open mouth expression in all the pictures
    3-maybe they shouldve tried puppies and kittens instead of endangered species

  12. Maya says:

    Dear fashion world: stop trying to make Kate Upton ‘happen’ as a high fashion model. It’s not going to happen.

  13. LadyMTL says:

    I am a serious animal lover (not quite PETA level but close, lol) and I would normally freak out if I saw baby animals being mishandled – be they endangered or not – BUT I honestly don’t see how this is a big deal.

    Okay, it wasn’t the best idea in the world but I would think that there would be pros there like animal handlers or zoologists present who would ensure that the lil ones would be treated well. Also, I doubt very much that they would have just left the tiger cub to roam around and attack things…so no, it wasn’t a great concept but IMHO it’s wayyyyy less offensive than the infamous “Hurricane Sandy” shoot.

  14. serena says:

    oh my gosh, I know it was wrong to put all those baby animals on set, but they’re so cute awwwwwwwww.

  15. nofkksgiven says:

    I find the whole shoot awesome! Love the animals, love the styling, love that they used Kate and her hair looks amazing!

  16. manta says:

    Well, to me there’ll always be only one Kate who can look divine with a feline by her side and her name isn’t Upton.

    It would have been priceless if Peta had been around during the filming of Bringing up Baby. Katharine Hepburn would just have ripped their head off (Howard Hawks too I think).

  17. andrea says:

    Her face just doesn’t have “it.” I don’t think that’s something you can learn or acquire, but I do think she can be coached into having more/better expressions.

    As for using animals as props, were these young animals transported to a shoot location far from their homes? Yeah, that sounds kinda dicey, but I’d like to believe the magazine spent for an army of wranglers, vets, etc.

    Here’s the thing… no amount of public outrage is going to change this spread or get it pulled from the magazine. So basically, all the noise is just fueling the controversy and potential magazine sales.

  18. yeahright says:

    I think these photos are gorgeous, save for the ones without any pants. I dont get it. Its also nice to see her boobs wearing a bra and clothing! She really is a beautiful girl and I am happy to see something other than her nipples for once…. even though I have major boob envy of her and can’t look away when they’re out.

  19. virginia5 says:

    the animals/props look disconnected from kate(well at least the cute as a button tiger)…and I still find kate to be still very ‘meh’. She has the same expression in every photo.

  20. em(original) says:

    She is beautiful but looks lifeless, disassociated, in every photo.

  21. MonicaQ says:

    Those boots are far more of a crime. Good lord, what are they supposed to be doing?

    Funny part is she doesn’t grate on my nerves yet. My co-worker called her the “Female model version of Tim Tebow”–that is ‘more hype than their talent deserves’–but my only exposure to her is this site so I’m indifferent.

    Though stop the mouth breathing, aie.

  22. Harpreet says:

    Umm, yes she is curvy, that is great and all, but that doesn’t mean she is a good model!

  23. bns says:

    The first photo is great, the second photo is good and then it just goes downhill. Love her hair and the vintage styling, though.

  24. Eleonor says:

    I hate when wild animals are used like this, but the puppy tiger is too precious.

  25. fabgrrl says:

    Baby tiger! Baby gibbon! Baby ocelot (I think)! I want them all! I know it’s wrong, but I do!

  26. Tulip says:

    Thank you for a non-boob photo shoot. She does look pretty and it’s a nice change.

  27. Bijlee says:

    Baby tiger! Great, now I’m gonna be stuck on a YouTube loop of baby tiger videos. They are so stinking cute. As long as they are safe I don’t really have a problem. And as long as they gave the animal the space and resting time and didn’t damage its eyes or anything, then it’s not that big a deal I guess. I wouldn’t miss it if they didn’t do it though.

  28. Amy says:

    Are those boots, like, thigh-high or hip waders that are undone and slipped down? Horrible styling.

  29. dcypher1 says:

    She looks like a young christie brinkley. As for the animals they are so adorable. As long as the pictorial explains that the animals are endangered I think its helping them make people more aware of this cause. as long as something good comes out of it its ok. Shes just posing with the animals nothing else.

  30. SnarkySnarkers says:

    My god, she has the EXACT same face in at least 3 of those pictures and the other 2 are only mildly distinguishable due to the camera angles. Start at the bottom, look only at her face and slowly scroll through the pics. Its like shes a mannequin they just moved around a little.

  31. Kristine says:

    I love the first 3 photos.. The rest, meh not so much.

  32. Emily says:

    As a fellow “Apple”, Kate Upton gives me hope.

  33. Melma says:

    Apparently Kate is dating Diddy… interesting.

  34. pam says:

    all i know is i want one of each. (not the girl but the animals!)

  35. Mabs says:

    Okay…those boots puked up their innards. :|

  36. Diana says:

    It was all good until that last trashy pic. Oh well…

  37. RobinS says:

    She has the same expression in each picture? A bad one, to add to the insult.

    She’s a pretty gal, and I’d kill for her figure but I don’t buy her as a fashion model. It’s the face. The face, while really pretty, isn’t fashion. More.. catalogue.

  38. Kim says:

    Really bad pics. Bad photographer & terrible stylist & the animals look very unhappy.

  39. Sachi says:

    She looks nervous in every photo. She looks very uncomfortable in that photo holding the tiger cub.

    Why do her eyes look dead in the last 2 photos?

    She’s a pretty woman, but she’s not a good model. She’s not versatile at all and she can’t convey any other emotion other than trying to look seductive and sexy.

    Models always get insulted for “just posing in front of a camera” but Kate Upton and other wannabe-models clearly prove modeling is harder than just striking a pose.

  40. Belle says:

    Um… I don’t think the animals look unhappy? LOL Really, doesn’t seem like a big deal if there is some mention of the animals being endangered… this DOES raise awareness. Is it horrible for animal experts to bring young animals (such as these) onto talk shows? I don’t think so if they are properly cared for by experienced handlers, which they usually seem to be. I doubt this shoot was any different from that.

  41. tifzlan says:

    I don’t get it. I don’t get the appeal of Kate Upton beyond a swimsuit model. She has a very ordinary, dime a dozen face to me and if it weren’t for those boobs, i don’t think she’d get the amount of attention she currently gets. She is obviously not cut out to be a high end model, judging by these pictures. I really just don’t get it.

  42. emma says:

    adorable, I love it. I love the styling as well, except for those CRAZY boots.

  43. Pat says:

    I’m sick of all the PETA bashing. You need to find a different venue for your hatred than PETA. Focus your anger on the people who inflict cruelty on animals- the animal experimenters, the fur and leather dealers, the factory farmers, Ringling Brothers (or better yet- focus your anger on yourself if you buy animal products because they were absolutely cruelly made). PETA has made mistakes and you may not agree will all their tactics, etc, but seriously, they at least are trying to help animals in a world where animals have no power and most people don’t give damn about animals. It’s tough to fight this, so please give PETA a break and shift your anger towards those who really deserve it.

    • Pia says:

      The problem with PETA is how extreme they are. I tend to agree with the majority of their views, but demanding everyone go vegan and saying that keeping pets is a form of slavery is a huge turn-off to most people. They are not going to win over the people who are on the fence with those tactics. Sometimes they don’t even bother to fully understand a situation before they condemn it, such as horseback riding. No, it’s not exactly natural, and it CAN be cruel depending on many factors, but that is not fair to the rest of us. I ride my mare a few times a week, and she is so happy to see me when I come to the barn that she trots right up to me in the paddock. She is my friend and my partner in a sport we both take part in. She loves to work and if she were ever uncomfortable or in pain, I would stop riding her. As long as PETA thinks I’m some horrible person for enjoying my passion, they can kiss my ass.

      Edited to add that I also don’t agree that all animal products are cruelly made. What about free-range eggs? A friend of mine keeps very happy chickens that lay an egg a day. An egg that isn’t even fertilized and will rot if left in the nest. There is absolutely nothing cruel about eating that egg or how it was produced.

  44. RobN says:

    Holy crap, it’s not like they picked up these animals on the black market or at a Petsmart adoption day. They were provided and cared for by ZWF which is a very reputable organization. There is no story here except PETA, once again, trying to fill it’s bank account on the backs of animals and gullible people.

  45. G says:

    This kind of shoot won’t fuel conservation it will fuel tiger is the new accessory syndrome for crazies. And isn’t it really weird to mix a sex symbol in a bikini and baby animals? Like something ain’t right with that! Plus she looks dead in the eyes right? Hating on this big time!