Kendall Jenner’s Vogue India cover has caused even more backlash

Taylor Swift wears a plaid shirt and skinny jeans while visiting her Tribeca apartment

Sometimes I feel like I’m “bad” on some of the hot-topic or cultural-sensitivity issues for Indians and Indian-Americans. Like, some people wanted me, an Indian-American woman, to have a strong opinion about pop stars like Beyonce or Iggy Azalea doing Indian-themed music videos. Or, I should have have an opinion on white women in saris or shalwar kameez or whatever. Personally, I don’t mind it when non-Indians wear traditionally Indian styles, nor do I mind when white people enjoy Bollywood-type events and the like. Granted, it’s a cultural-appropriation slippery slope, and all of this would be different if someone was doing brownface, or using traditionally Indian clothing in a mocking way.

So what is happening here? Kendall Jenner got the cover of Vogue India’s 10th anniversary issue. Vogue India often puts Western and American celebrities on their covers, as do many of the international editions of Vogue. So it doesn’t surprise me to see Kendall on a cover of any edition of Vogue in general, although you would think for the tenth anniversary special edition, they maybe should have gone with an Indian celebrity? Maybe? That’s why this is being criticized, because what does Kendall even know about India and why is this white American woman on the cover?

Vogue India’s latest cover girl is a bit off-brand. The magazine chose American supermodel Kendall Jenner as the face of its 10th anniversary issue, prompting a number of readers to vent their disappointment.

“Vogue “India,” celebrating its 10th anniversary in “India,” in a historic Indian palace…featuring an American model … it just me or did @vogueindia failed to see the irony in that…” one reader commented on Instagram. Other commenters accused the magazine of “terrible marketing” and called out an alleged “hunger to become more westernized.” They also suggested alternative cover models such as Indian actresses Priyanka Chopra or Deepika Padukone.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, the spread was shot by in Jaipur, India, and also features Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Famed photographer Mario Testino took the pictures.

Vogue India has not addressed the social media uproar. Jenner has yet to post a photo of her Vogue India cover — another issue readers are criticizing.

[From Page Six]

Again… I would have had no issue with Kendall appearing on the cover of Vogue India. It happens all the time – white American women are put on the covers of international editions of Vogue all the time. And I’ll give Vogue India a little bit of credit in that… at least they didn’t make Kendall look like a caricature of Indian women. I think the problem here is that this was a special anniversary issue and that Kendall was the wrong choice for a special edition. This is not inclusion, especially for a publication which is supposed to represent the Indian market.

Vogue India , May 2017 By @mariotestino With @kendalljenner

A post shared by Sushant Singh Rajput (@sushantsinghrajput) on

Photos courtesy of Mario Testino/Vogue India.

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101 Responses to “Kendall Jenner’s Vogue India cover has caused even more backlash”

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  1. Giulia says:

    Kendall is such a lame model – Vogue India’s 10th Anniversary issue certainly deserved better than her.

    • Sue E. Generis says:

      Just thinking the same thing. She is so incredibly bland.

    • Trashaddict says:

      You could probably find hundreds of women in India who aren’t even models who look better than this little self-promoter.

    • AnnaKist says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with all of you ^ ^ ^, so, when did she become a “super”model?

      • Bettyrose says:

        Life ain’t fair. A rich family, connections, and significant plastic surgery that most couldn’t afford have made this girl a “super model,” but at what cost? Geezus, who is she going to be at 30 with no education, no skills, and I’m guessing not much sense of her own desires? I can’t yet bring myself to blame the Jenner girls for their fates.

    • teacakes says:

      It’s amazing how she’s dead-eyed from EVERY angle. Even Bella Hadid has more facial expressions than her.

  2. Belle Epoch says:

    I think it’s awful. There are so many beautiful Indian women – yet they chose a trashy American? Because Nuclear Wintour is still enamored of the trashiest family in America? (OK, lots of competition there – at least it isn’t Mama June!)

    • minx says:

      + 100000. All the gorgeous Indian women, and they pick this….nothing.

    • cynic says:

      I completely agree.

    • bluhare says:

      I don’t think Anna Wintour is the editor of Vogue India? Or does she oversee every international edition?

      • sanders says:

        bluhare, that’s a good question. I’d love to hear from the Indian posters about how this has been received in India.
        In Indian culture, there is an idealizing of european whiteness and conflating it with beauty. Also as someone pointed out down thread, colorism is a problem. Still, Indians take pride in their identity so very curious to how this went over in India.
        Of course too, there is such a range of cultural values in India. I’m sure the BJP nationalists and RSS, who rail against things like indians celebrating valentines day will differ from a young urban woman living in Delhi or Mumbai to those women in rural India.

      • teacakes says:

        @Sanders – Indian poster here, and the backlash is real – Indian twitter and media is actually pissed off that the 10th anniversary cover is going to this human lump of cardboard.

        It’s especially bad because the Vogue India covers generally feature Indian celebrities or models, with the odd international one – and the very first issue of the magazine in 2007 had Indian AND international models. They didn’t leave the Indian women off the cover altogether like they’ve done here. It’s like saying ‘you’re not good enough to rep the anniversary cover’ if you’re Indian.

    • AnneC says:

      We’ll, I guess we should be thankful it wasn’t Tiffany or Ivanka on the cover…anyhoo Kendall is a terrible choice for a special issue.

    • Shannon says:

      Eh, I’m pretty sure the trashiest family in America lives in the apartment underneath me. Or in the WH? It’s really hard to say.

    • Gretchen says:

      This just doesn’t make any sense. I thought the point of these sort of special anniversary editorials is to present something iconic for the magazine and the country. Why on earth would they call in Kendall, who has nothing to do with India, when they could have asked women like Kareena Kapoor or Aishwarya Rai?! *scratches head*

  3. Runcmc says:

    Whoever is managing Kendall’s career is making really bad choices for her. Is it Kris? This isn’t her fault- she did a non-offensive photo shoot for a magazine- but somehow she’s facing backlash again. They need to be smarter about her projects.

    And no, I don’t believe for a second that she makes her own career choices (based on the show and her general passive persona).

    • swak says:

      She may not make her own career choices but she is an adult and should be smarter about her projects. She should not just blindly do work and should be in the decision making process.

    • Megan says:

      She is represented by a modeling agency that books her gigs. Who knows if she even knew it was the 10th anniversary issue.

    • hannah89 says:

      was gonna say this too.

      radio silence after pepsi.
      radio silence after fyre.

      ….you think the kardashians would be better at publicity

    • Aurelia says:

      I read last week Kendall wants to get rid of her momanger. I agree, some shitty choices recently.

  4. Louise177 says:

    I don’t follow international magazines but do they only have their own Nationalities on the cover? Up to this point have there only been Indian women? I do find it odd that they didn’t put an Indian woman on the cover for a big anniversary issue. I also think it’s a little unfair to blame Kendall. She’s just there to model and maybe didn’t now it was an anniversary cover. Doubt she would care anyway..

    • Loz says:

      Indian jobs for Indian people!1!!1!!

    • Miffy says:

      I don’t follow international publications either but I do know that there’s a massive market for European and American models in Japan so it’s a long standing ‘issue’. This should have been addressed years ago.

    • swak says:

      Time to stop giving Kendall a pass on “not knowing” details about the jobs she takes. She’s an adult and should take some interest in what she is doing.

    • Catherine says:

      Vogue India always has Bollywopd celebrities. Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, etc have been on the magazine a bunch of times. Guys like Hrithik Roshan and Shahrukh Khan were also on the cover a couple of times.

    • teacakes says:

      Vogue India generally has Indian people on the cover – whether models or actors. They’ve had the odd cover with Gisele or Posh but handing off the anniversary issue to a white foreign model has actually pissed off people because of the message that no Indian model was good enough.

      I know we have our issues with colorism but that’s not a reason to not have an Indian on this cover and I’m tired of Kardboard here getting a pass on her modelling jobs because “she’s just a model, you guys! She knows nothing!”

  5. Shelley says:

    In a land of a million really beautiful and natural women. Of all shades and sizes, please tell me why? This chick has zero personality, nothing meaningful to say.. no self awareness, just why? She is not India

  6. Naptime says:

    She’s a laughably bad model. That slouchy pose is so poorly executed. I’m not getting sleek and angular like when Verushka did it for Richard Avedon; instead I’m getting “hold me up, I’m so tired cuz modeling is hard.”

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      I despair of the current crop of ‘successful models’ who are just awful, people like her and Cara D only got their careers because of family connections. The Hadid sisters are not too bad, would hire them over Kendall and Cara D any day.

      Fortunately there are many very good models out there.

      • Artemis says:

        I think Cara can model. She’s very dynamic in a shoot and brings life into it. She can switch from goofy girl to model face real quick. I was surprised when I watched her behind the scenes videos because she’s brings energy and fun to sets which is what photographers love. She moves, talks, gives different faces and movements. She plays with the camera.
        Kendall is always dull, she’s a pretty girl who cannot take risks because she’s aware of her face and body and needs to feel like she’s staying pretty when modeling. She’s awkward and her answers are always boring even when they bring in other people to work with, she stays lifeless. Gigi is slightly better, more active but also dull and vapid.

        Too bad that Cara is the typical ‘but what I REALLY want to do is…’ which in her case is acting. And she’s terrible at acting funny enough, the energy she brings only works with her modelling but is too contrived for acting (her part in SS was god awful).

    • Original T.C. says:

      She is pretty bad. The male actor looks is a better model and he is h.a.w.t!

      • Anners says:

        Seconding the hot male actor – not familiar with his work, but wouldn’t mind being educated 😉 He’s by far the most interesting part of this story

        ETA – don’t mean more interesting than the social discussions and implications, just infinitely more interesting than the kardashian

  7. COSquared says:

    This is bull. India has no shortage of beautiful celebrities, why go for some lame American model? Indians have every right to be pissed.

  8. rory says:

    She’s so dull, she’s only a model because her last name is Jenner.

  9. Patricia says:

    Her modeling is such a joke, it’s embarrassing. Bending over backwards, hands in pocket, dead facial expression – it’s the same thing over and over. Its an “emperor has no clothes” situation: she does the stupid, awkward pose and vapid face, people cheer her on and give her work, and she doesn’t ever have a good look and realize how dumb she looks.
    I just don’t understand why magazine editors and the like want to have this amateur and embarrassing posing crap going on in their magazines and representing their projects.

    • Artemis says:

      If she was on ANTM that bending pose would have warranted this question:

      are you model the verb, or model the noun?

      Kendall is for sure the noun, always has been. She looks like a model but she can’t model to save her life! That pose is so classic ‘I’m trying to do what a real model would do but I’m awkward and not model material so I look like an amateur’. This would not even qualify for a test shoot and I don’t know why they use it as an actual professional photo in a ‘prestigious’ magazine.

      The thing is, there are plenty of great models out there, the it-girls like Gigi and Kendall are so prominent because of their connections so I don’t see them as real models. They’re glorified Instagram models who will never be true models so the real models don’t have to be worried. Their work can stand on its own, Kendall and Gigi need famous boyfriends and followers to sustain their model ‘career’.

    • Megan says:

      I would imagine people book her because she has a reality TV a show and 80 million Instagram followers. Booking a model with that kind of promotional reach undoubtedly gives a boost to whatever you are selling.

      • sanders says:

        It has to be this because she has no presence or charisma in those photographs.

      • Taxi says:

        The editors of Vogue India are responsible. Readers of VI should complain to VI & cancel subscriptions, whatever. If Indian women follow Kardashians on twitter or other media, they must be interested in them. Who buys/reads VI? If the readers object to the editorial teams choices, they need to speak up.
        If we ignore the K clan, don’t follow their social media or watch their TV show, will they vanish from awareness? I wish. If I never again see or hear of any of them, I’d give thanks. Kendall is a lousy model but as long as she gets media & popular attention, she’ll continue to get high-profile work.

  10. RussianBlueCat says:

    If it wasn’t for the fallout from the Pepsi commercial and now this, I would have completely forgotten Kendall was a model. She is just forgettable. Lovely young woman but just lacking that ” spark” that other models and supermodels of the 90’s have. I don’t see her having a long career. The Kardashian/Jenner family is slowly losing its grip on popular culture

  11. kri says:

    First of all…that location, and that man in the second photo-wow,amazing! As far as any Jenner/Kardashian stuff goes, they are useless pathetic and gross. The only nice thing I can say about Kendall is that she has attempted (unsuccessfully in my opinion) to have a legit career.

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      Yes, the actor posing with her is HOT!!

    • O_o_odesa says:

      Omg I know, he is really handsome

    • ela says:

      His name is Sushant Singh Rajput and one of Bollywood’s better actors. And refreshingly, not a product of nepotism unlike a lot of Bollywood actors and Miss Kendall herself.

      • Catherine says:

        SSR is a good actor but his personality is so annoying. He is saying everywhere he is going to be on an episode of KUWTK.

      • ela says:

        Catherine, I am surprisingly okay with that but then again I am a huge apologist for self-made Bollywood actors like SSR & Kangana Ranaut. I know how divisive someone like Kangana can be but with people like Karan Johar running Bollywood, I am fine with these actors getting theirs even if it means jumping on the Kardashian train.

  12. deevia says:

    What kinda crotch-thrust posing? Anyway its a white magazine owned by white people trying to export the American white to convince the international markets that white is right. By choosing her on the cover, it means she is the best the power-that-be can offer in terms of white model at the moment. Kinda sad when they used to have so many waves of interesting Brazilian / Russian / British models in early 2000s. The dude standing next to her looks embarrassed.

    • damejudi says:

      What was the direction from Testino?

      “Kendall, show us your pelvis, good, good!”

    • Bucketbot says:

      The guy is not in the least bit embarrassed. He is pretty proud of this photoshoot because INTERNATIONAL model, international photographer, etc. He even went to the media to say that he shot for an epidode of KUWTK during this shoot.

      I don’t know how people find him hot, totally NOT imo. But I’ll say this – he can act. And he is a natural in that respect. Too bad he is the thirsty kind. So maybe he was perfect to be paired with Kendull after all.

  13. adastraperaspera says:

    Her poses look like SNL parody.

  14. Zuzus Girl says:

    I hate to be a Kendull apologist but she’s just a dumb as hell (mediocre) model who shows up where she’s told. She’s not smart enough to see the deeper ramifications of her bad choices. This is on the magazine editor and her agent (mom?).

    • AnnaKist says:

      I see your point, Zuzu’s Girl, but is this girl in a position to knock back jobs, even if she did consider/ser the deeper ramifications of her choices? I feel she’s not irreplaceable, and knows it. If she knocks back work, someone else will be offered it and snap it up in a second. She loves the status, connections and exposure these jobs bring her and is not about to reject these jobs, regardless of any repercussions.

  15. MrsPanda says:

    The male model upstages her, he’s very hot and posed naturally. She looks silly next to him!

  16. nemera34 says:

    I don’t get the attack against Kendall. She is a model: good or bad (opinions vary). She accepted a booking which is what a model does. She posed for pictures taken by a very famous photographer. That is a big thing for any model. If people are angry about the cover then they should direct it to the Vogue Editors. These decisions are well thought out for the most part. And I suppose they think Kendall appeals to their audience. They are trying to attract younger women. At this point I don’t think Vogue cares about women of a particular age and how they don’t like the Kardashains. I’m not a fan of that family at all. That being said she seems to be getting a lot of work so somebody likes her a lot.

    • Alp says:

      Do you really think Kendall Jenner does not get a say in what she’s booked? Kendall Jenner.

    • swak says:

      Maybe she should start asking questions about the shoot she is doing. It’s not like she is struggling and needs the job. From Vogue itself: “KENDALL JENNER and Mario Testino have worked on multiple famous shoots for big-name magazines and campaigns together, securing some of the most iconic images of modern fashion photography.” So not the first time she has worked with him. Stop excusing her, she’s an adult that can do some research and say NO if it is offensive.

  17. Nicole says:

    I agree that often times other countries Vogue editions use western models (which I think is an issue but I digress). But for the 10 year special they couldn’t pick one of the numerous gorgeous Indian models that can actually model?!? It’s especially egregious once you add the country’s issue with colorism into the mix.
    Whoever Kendall’s manager is really needs to wake up and do their jobs. 3 scandal in a matter of weeks

    • Megan says:

      Obviously readers are interested in western models as well models from their country.

      • Bells says:

        Megan – obviously, they’re not interested in western models in this particular edition. Hence the backlash.

  18. WhichWitch says:

    While I actually don’t think this one is that big of a deal, I do feel a certain amount of Schadenfreude that she can’t seem to catch a break. “But she’s so young and means well and feels soooo bad she’s offended anyone! Please feel sorry for this poor rich white girl!”

  19. MellyMel says:

    That cover is not good at all! She’s just not a good model. Very dead behind the eyes.

  20. Lafawnda says:

    It was Vogue India’s choice to put her on the cover. Why does it matter? I don’t understand why it is such a scandal. If it was any other model other than Kendall no one would care. This is not a race issue. This is a Kardashian-Jenner issue.

  21. Catherine says:

    I’m a huge indian film fan an at least on the gossip pages that I read nobody cares about the cover. Also Sushant Singh Rajput and Katrina Kaif are on the magazine.
    Instead of this ridiculous outrage people should talk about Baahubali 2, the movie has been a huge hit on the USA.
    The first part is on Netflix if anybody is interested.

  22. Lexx says:

    The anger, which I think is justified, is about the fact that in the face of India’s deeply entrenched colorism issues, it comes off as a bad look. I think it’s just the straw that’s breaking the camels back. It’s just one more piece of Western culture selling whiteness overseas and pressuring indian women to aspire to whiteness in their own country. And at the end of the day Indian women and American Indian women, because American Indian women are absolutely erased in popular culture, have to decide if representation is important to them and then make the choice to fight for it.

  23. duchesschicana says:

    Coming for someone who is an “amateur model’, Kendal is not completely innocent. Personally, when I book a photoshoot I know what the concept was going to be about. SoI find it hard to believe that she didn’t know what the photoshoot was going to be about, even if she was booked by an agency, usually an agency will give you a rundown about concepts etc. However maybe she doesn’t exactly have a depth to understand her recent choices at the end of the day either way she makes bank. * shrugs

    • Bee says:

      There people don’t care as long as someone, anyone is writing them a cheque.

  24. Cherrypie says:

    There is backlash for everything theses days it seems.

    • Tua says:

      Haha.. seriously.. there is backlash over everything. The thing is no one in India knows Kendall.. probably a miniscule percentage. The same miniscule percentage who actually read Vogue India. Neither are particularly relevant. It’s a super privileged minority as the magazine is CRIMINALLY overpriced. We have our own fashion magazines which are a 100 times more relevant and with waaay more talented, beautiful, smart and gutsy ladies to grace their covers.

  25. Aoife says:

    “nor do I mind when white people enjoy Bollywood-type events and the like” – how generous of you!

  26. Tua says:

    I actually agree with Kaiser. In India, no one actually minds if a “foreigner” be they tourist or expat wears saris or salwar kameez. We actually consider it as a mark of appreciation for our culture and customs and most women will take a minute to compliment them that they look lovely and elegant. Indulgent smiles rather than huffing and puffing. Yes, but it is ridiculous when the western media concentrates on cows, elephants and snake charmers in their depiction of modern India. It just shows their ignorance of the ground realities.As for us, we’ve learnt to dodge the cows when we’re driving to our swanky workplaces. In fact it’s a critical portion of our driving test!

    • deevia says:

      But don’t you ever feel the profit only goes one way for these foreign magazines? Bringing in a little “international” (read: white) but rarely exporting the “international from India to the U.S? Personally the cows, the elephants, the snake charmers etc might be reductive but is part of the charm for visitors. People from more developed countries aren’t interested in places that are as developed / westernized as theirs and only enjoyed by a small population.

    • Lightpurple says:

      My cousin married into a Sikh family and had a Sikh wedding. We were encouraged to wear saris or salwar kameez to the wedding. The women helped us make sure everything was fastened and adjusted properly and taught us some Bollywood dance moves before events got started. Everything was so colorful and beautiful and everyone was so welcoming and I never felt so feminine as I did wearing that salwar kameez. I’ve worn the kameez since, without the veil and with more western style pants, because it truly is one of the most beautiful pieces of clothing I’ve ever owned.

      But did they darken Kendull’s skin in those photos?

      • Bells says:

        Speak for yourself, Tua, not for all Indians. I am of Indian origin, and it bothers me greatly when white people wear Indian traditional clothing without at least being invited to do so.

      • teacakes says:

        “Of Indian origin”=/= “from India”. Just saying.

        Indians living in the country generally don’t mind westerners wearing salwar kameezes etc while they’re there, in fact it’s generally taken as a positive sign that you want to fit in.

  27. FuefinaWG says:

    I don’t read Vogue, but I do read Harpers, Elle, and a few others. Out of Jenner and the Hadid sisters, I think Bella is the striking, gorgeous one. Neither GiGi or Kendall make me want to investigate/buy anything … and you can’t open a magazine without seeing those two in 5 different ads each. My G-d, are there no other models to hire?

  28. Loganski says:

    Why is Kendall Jenner called a “supermodel”. There’s nothing super about her. She’s an American model. period.

  29. Intel says:

    She’s got weird facial structure for a model. Pretty as a civilian but not really modelling material. That cover makes her forehead look HUGE.

  30. Clairej says:

    I remember travelling in India and felt like there were stunning women on every corner. When I think of all the gorgeous women I have seen there it kills me Kendull nabbed this cover. She really isn’t a memorable model. I spent more time looking at the beautiful wall behind her. She was born lucky in that without connections she would never make a Vogue cover.

    • teacakes says:

      Her face is an insult to high fashion modelling, like someone said this is ANTM level at best, not Vogue. No one cares enough about this dullard in India for her to actually be relevant so idk why she got the anniversary issue.

      And I hope people don’t think we didn’t notice that she never booked a single high fashion job until after Kanye married Kim and gave the Klan access to his designer buddies.

      I would like it if her career dies under backlash tbqh. This is worse than Gigi Hadid booking that Vogue Arabia cover bc at least Gigi is half Arab and vocal about it.

    • Deering says:

      Clarej–hee, damn right. The wall is amazing–Jenner, not so much. 😉

  31. Bee says:

    It’s mind boggling to think that brands think that this girl can sell stuff to people with money. Wrong.

  32. Veronica says:

    I think it’s poorly chosen given it was a tenth edition, and especially because they chose a light skinned model for it when India has similar colorism problems to the US. And frankly…rather uninspiring from an editorial perspective? For a culture that’s known for its colorful dress, you’d think they would go for something livelier.

  33. artistsnow says:

    The MOST offensive part of this cover page is they DARKENED her skin.
    I browsed through Google Kendall Vogue images. Spanish photos – her skin is darker. US magazines – her skin is lighter. WTF? Am I imaging this?

  34. Littlestar says:

    She’s a terrible model, truly cringe worthy.

  35. Megan says:

    Like most people, I’m really tired of whoever is trying to make Kendall ‘happen’. Sadly she is ‘happening’ and people are actually believing her hype. If it wasn’t for her famous family she wouldn’t even be a model. She’s so dull, she has no modelling talent, and her look has got worse over time. Her and the other Instagram-famous ‘super models’ really need to go away. Stop putting them on the cover of Vogue.

  36. prissa says:

    I drive for Lyft part time and over the weekend I took a BEAUTIFUL Indian woman to the airport. She looked 10,000 times better than Kendall in these pics – and she was about to hop on a plane!

    Such a shame!

  37. Katherine says:

    Wasn’t it obvious to ANY person in the decision making process that an anniversary issue of your magazine in a country should feature someone FROM that country? There’s literally a billion people to choose from.

  38. Montréalaise says:

    Dead eyes, in every single photograph she’s ever been in.

  39. alexc says:

    Should have put the male model on the cover. Geez he’s gorgeous.

  40. rahrahrooey says:

    “American Supermodel” ????????????

  41. Frigga says:

    Why is she on any Vogue covers?? Hasn’t anyone realized that this isn’t working for actual fashion lovers? She’s so awful…if this is her trying hard to be a model, she fails miserably.

  42. Erica_V says:

    I’m the most offended by how bad her poses are. Supermodel? Sure Jan.