Gigi Hadid Responds to ‘Blackface’ Backlash Over Vogue Italia Cover

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Supermodel Gigi Hadid is responding to backlash over a recent photo of her that is circulating online. She took to social media to set the record straight.

A Noticeably Darker Complexion

The pic in question is a Vogue Italia cover shot for its May issue, in which Hadid appears noticeably darker in skin tone than usual.

The photo released Wednesday, May 2, features Hadid in a sequined outfit and gold crown, facing the camera head-on.

The backlash was swift and instant. Social media users flocked to accuse Hadid of utilizing "blackface" and of being racially insensitive.

They also took issue with the seemingly blatant Photoshop used to make her look nothing like herself.

Tackling It Head On

As a result, the supermodel took to Twitter and Instagram the following day to apologize and discuss the situation.

She posted a photo of herself being followed by paparazzi as she left the shoot in question, with a lengthy caption explaining her decision to take part and what role she plays in these kinds of situations.

Hadid also defended the creative decisions of photographer Steve Klein, as well as Vogue Italia at large.

"Please understand that my control of a shoot 1. is non existent in terms of creative direction 2. ends completely when I leave set, and anything done to a photo in post is out of my control fully. The bronzing and photoshop is a style that S. Klein has done for many years and I believe what was expected from the shoot (to show me in a different way creatively), BUT, although I understand what Vogue Italia's intentions were, it was not executed correctly, and the concerns that would have been brought up are valid," she wrote.

Hadid then explained that she understood how those who were offended by the shoot felt.

"Please know that things would have been different if my control of the situation was different. Regardless, I want to apologize because my intention is never to diminish those concerns or take opportunities away from anyone else," she continued.

She finished the post by referring to ongoing issues with representation in the fashion industry. Hadid suggested the backlash should be a lesson to other publications looking to conduct similar shoots in the future.

They Have Been Down This Road Before

The supermodel is no stranger to this kind of backlash, having fallen victim to it for another Vogue Italia cover back in November 2015. The shot, which featured Hadid with a blue afro hairstyle and a darker skin tone, also caused similar uproar.

The magazine gave a statement to E! News in relation to this latest controversy.

"Vogue Italia has always respected and even encouraged the viewpoint of commissioned photographers. ... Fashion photography, and Vogue Italia's in particular, is an interpretation of reality, not a literal representation of it, and this creative approach applies to the cover of the May issue," it read.

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