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Vanity Fair ‘White’ Cover: Too Much Ado About Nothing?

Vanity Fair 'racist' cover? Kristen Stewart Abbie Cornish Anna Kendrick Carey Mulligan
Vanity Fair “white” cover racist? Pictured are Kristen Stewart, Abbie Cornish, Anna Kendrick, Carey Mulligan, Mia Wasikowska, Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone, Rebecca Hall, and Evan Rachel Wood.
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

First a furor over Avatar and its blue Na’vi (among other issues), now a Vanity Fair “white” cover.

It’s February, Black History Month in the United States, and Vanity Fair dares to put nine young lily white up-and-coming actresses on its March (don’t ask) cover: Kristen Stewart, Abbie Cornish, Anna Kendrick, Rebecca Hall, Carey Mulligan, Mia Wasikowska, Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone, and Evan Rachel Wood. Annie Leibovitz did the shoot.

And some have been utterly outraged.

Even though, in all fairness, only Cornish, Stewart, and Mulligan are actually seen on the cover. The others are in the fold-out.

It’s silly to call the shoot, the photographer, or the magazine “racist.” I think the nine women look great and the set up is striking. Having said that, I do wish they had included Gabourey Sidibe – and not because of the color of her skin. After all, she is an upcoming actress who received excellent reviews for her abused teen in Precious. In fact, Sidibe just got a Best Actress Academy Award nomination. How many others in the Vanity Fair photo shoot can boast that feat? One: Carey Mulligan. (Anna Kendrick was nominated in the supporting category.)

Freida Pinto is another one who should have been included. I mean, how many of the Vanity Fair actresses have starred in a Best Picture Oscar winner? Answer: none. (Perhaps Pinto and Sidibe were unavailable? That I don’t know.)

Avatar‘s Zoe Saldana is 31. Perhaps too over-the-hill for Vanity Fair‘s “young” concept. All of those over 30 should start protesting right now.

Now, the photo shoot was called “A New Decade. A New Hollywood! Starring the Fresh Faces of 2010.” Where is Taylor Lautner?

‘All-White’ ‘Vanity Fair’ cover weak sales

June 28 update: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse actress Kristen Stewart, An Education‘s Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan, and Bright Star co-star Abbie Cornish were featured on the cover of the March 2010 issue of Vanity Fair. In the fold-out, readers could find Anna Kendrick, Rebecca Hall, Mia Wasikowska, Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone, and Evan Rachel Wood.

An angry debate ensued, with some accusing the magazine of being racist (all of the women are white), ageist (all of the women are under 30), fattist (all of the women are thin), Anglo-ist (all of the women are from English-speaking countries), sexist (none of the women are men), etc.

You’d have thought that, however inane, these kinds of controversies would boost sales. Not so, apparently.

Shot by Annie Leibovitz, the March cover for the “A New Decade. A New Hollywood!” issue was the lowest newsstand seller for the first five months of 2010 according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Rapid Report. (Via the New York Observer.)

Kristen Stewart, Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish, Amanda Seyfried, Anna Kendrick, et al. sold only 300,000 copies.

With 435,000 single sale copies – or nearly 50 percent more copies sold than “A New Hollywood!” – Vanity Fair‘s 2010 bestseller to date is the January issue featuring Old(er) Hollywood Meryl Streep on the cover. Back then, Streep was winning Best Actress awards left and right, and was a top Oscar contender for her performance as Julia Child in Julie & Julia.

According to the New York Observer report, Vanity Fair‘s second-best seller of 2010 so far has been the May issue featuring the late Monaco princess and Academy Award winner Grace Kelly.

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philip -

The cover representation is what most white people, especiall of young white girls, want to see. The magazine is trying to motivate and encourage young white actress wannabes that you can be hollywood actress and you can be on the cover too. Can you balme them? you can only complain about it that why minority actresses are not there? becasue they do not want them to be there. You can speculate as much as you want that minority actress are not getting roles, hence they are not on cover. This is one of the reasons why minortiy actresses are not getting roles, Hollywood film industry would see this cover and many magazine covers where only white actors are there, they could justify their decesions not to give any roles to minority actresses, they would easily can say minority actresses are not famous enough, so they are not giving them roles and magazine industry would say they are not in many movies,so they are not putting minority on their cover. It goes in circles. People do not want to watch minority actors because they are not famous enough in movies or magazine compare to white actresses. White actresses are going to keep silent because they are happy to get more roles, could be richer and famous than minority. It is already competetive within white actresses and there is always new white actresses coming in from all over the world Europe, Australia, white African actresses, so they want to keep it that way. The mag cover captures just like many mags that White males prefer to watch white actresses on movies and mags because they find them sexy and they find minority actresses ugly. Hence the mag only covered young white beautiful sexy actresses to stimulate white males for romanticism and sexual pleasure and and white females to relate them in movies this year. Watch how these white actresses stimulate your senses in movies coming this year cinema near you. This photo sort of look like Nazi sexual selection experiment with white women. I might be wrong.

lalala xP -

where is EMMA WATSON??
she must be there!!

mac -

Let’s be honest. It’s racism out of stupidity. Vanity Fair couldn’t be more vapid and ignorant as a whole, not just in the article. We’re talking about the stars of Twilight(really?)and Jennifer’s Body(cmon now) that are on this cover. I don’t see whats unexpected about an elitist magazine that lacks any actual intelligent content doing something like this.

Brian -

I’ve read quite a few articles complaining about this VF cover. I’d like to make a few points.

The age range is teen to late 20’s ONLY. Zoe Saldana is lovely and talented, but is 31, so she’s outside of the age range for the cover.

Talent, a promising future, and an existing body of work were also factors used in determining the cover. Gabourey Sidibe had no body of work prior to Precious, so she didn’t qualify. Freida Pinto is mostly a Bollywood actress, not a Hollywood actress, so chances are that VF didn’t think about including her. And for the person who mentioned Selena Gomez, talent was a factor and I’ve never heard of Selena Gomez (or any other Disney factory actor) accused of being talented.

I have yet to read any article that mentioned including actresses other than Sidibe, Saldana, and Pinto. Being a film actress also seems to be a requirement, so who else is there? The only minority actress I could think of to include, given the criteria, was Vanessa Hudgens. The problem with her is a lack of talent, though she is good looking and well known.

There are a number of actresses with larger bodies of work than Sidibe or Pinto (Hollywood work I mean) such as Ellen Page, Dakota Fanning, and Emily Blunt. Any of those three would have more right to be on the VF cover than Sidibe or Pinto.

Finally, why are Stewart and Seyfried on the cover again? Because VF is in business to make money and Stewart is in Twilight while Seyfried has a total of five movies out between September ’09 and May 2010. In other words, they are well enough known to sell magazines.

If anyone wants to complain about racism, don’t complain about VF. That cover is an accurate representation of the somewhat established young actresses in American film. Instead, complain about the lack of roles for minority actresses, which leads to a lack of up comers. I’m sure there are plenty of talented non white young actresses out there, but they are not getting a chance to work since there are so few roles (especially lead roles) available for them.

George -

About half of the “white” actors on Vanity Fair are foreigners. There are a lot of talented Americans, white or otherwise who should be given employment first. It is very interesting that anti-immigration groups such as FAIR or Center for Immigration Studies did not say a word in protest. But let a software corporations hire a few Indian nationals, all hell breaks loose. The true racists here are not Hollywood or Vanity Fair but the anti-immigration groups who happen to have one standard for whites and another for other groups. Disgusting!

Jen -

Kristen Stewart is so overrated just because She’s on twilight. She sucks at acting It was painful to watch her on twilight. Where is the real talent? What is happening to this world?

Lily -

I’m surprised Frieda Pinto, Zoe Saldana, or even Selena Gomez were not included. Frieda will be in an Woody Allen film releasing in the summer and Zoe was in Star Trek and Avatar. Abby Cornish is 27 years old so she’s also kind of over the hill if we talk about ages.

But I agree that this list is stupid. Where is Dakota? AND Kristen & Amanda have been in this issue a couple years ago. Why repeat??

Brandi -

This cover was shot before Oscar nods were announced, then why are there no actresses who were being buzzed for Oscar nods? Kristen Stewart certainly is no Oscar nominee. Its not playing the race card, its recognizing that its the 21st century!

Tammy -

Vanity Fair has always done things like this. Never thinking outside the box! DO NOT BUY IT!
STAY OFF OF THERE WEBSITE! Their pockets will begin to hurt, and maybe they will get the picture!

alice -

why abbie cornish there?

Tricia -

I’ve never purchased a copy of Vanity Fair and never will. It’s one dimensional and boring for those who are the same!

Kel -

…oh, I agree, Emma Watson and Dakota Fanning should be on this cover… but, whatever.

Kel -

How old are the people posting here? I cannot believe what I’m reading.

Brekeshia, you can choose not to participate in Black History Month, but unless you understand why it was “created” in the first place, you’ll never get it anyway. In 2010 there are children in this country carrying history books that do not include ANY of the accomplishments of black people in this country, or any other minority, women included, for that matter. That’s not race card stuff, that’s just fact.

Anyway, I don’t think the Vanity Fair cover is racist, they are simply marketing to their reader base…simple as that. You’re not going to see Kristen Stewart on the cover of Essence.

Brekeshia -

I think Every body should be PO’d about the attitude of American’s so called Black History Month! The whole idea we give one race or so called color of people getting our own month! So many people of ALL colors have put blood sweat and tears into this Nation. There are GREAT Black Men and Women who we will never here about because they are not BLACK enough or too Conservative. Racism is a Fraud perpetuated by Democrat Party Power Players. We can stand on our own !! We don’t need Hand Outs! Boys and Girls we have much to personally change.

George -

Many of those featured are not even US citizens and I dont see anti-immigrant groups protesting and they get mad when I call these groups what they are— racists.

Michael -

I hate to break it to you guys, but that girl who starred in Precious ain’t likely to be future A-list star. No-one will remember her a year from now which is why she ain’t in the magazine.

Skinny and White is what sells and that’s just the way it is and the way it’s always been in US media.

Anna kendrick great choice but I think alot of the other girls have been around awhile and none have broken through.

Dude -

I wish minorities would stop playing the race card. If you’re good you’ll make it (Will Smith, Denzel etc) if not then you won’t. People forget 80% of America is white so it’s going to have more white stars then minorities aren’t they?

The choice ain’t great, but Anna Kendrick is spot on. She’ll be big.

Encore Entertainment -

I don’t get why people are turning this into a big issue. It’s not racist. Each of these girls has more than one film behind them and more than one lined up in the future. Nothing against Gabourey but let’s see if she’s more than a one hit wonder. Certainly I hate Twilight and all that but you can’t deny that Stewart is more popular. And I am black: just for the record.

Tonya -

Obviously this person did not read the article in Vanity Fair. Although I did see the movie Precious, and I thought it was an amazing film! This was Gabourey-Sidibe first Movie that she’s Ever been in. These actresses on the cover have been in Numerous movies and are enourmously talented actresses.They deserve the cover! They v’e earned it!

marie -

I really don’t think this is racist at all. It’s a stupid magazine cover… BIG DEAL PEOPLE!!! There are so many other concerning issues to focus on, other than the fact that Vanity Fair did a… oh god forbid… a photo shoot… GASP… with a bunch of talented white actress’s between the ages of 19-27. Like come on people, this is just being trivial now. Also, I think people have become WAY too sensitive. I mean I’m Asian, and honestly tell me the last time you saw an Asian girl grace any cover? But I’m not complaining. Also, all of these girls on the cover have done MULTIPLE films in one year… as for Emma Watson, Frieda Pinto, Gabourey Sidibe they’ve done ONE. See the difference?

Trina -

This is definately Racism 101,how dare they???What an outrage,especially being it is Black History Month

Marcus Tucker -

Racist no, bland yes. It looks almost exactly like the 2000 cover only no men in the shot. Annie Leibovitz is so overrated.

Renee -

You will never see a high-profile white actress/actor talking about the lack of oppotunities for people of color in Hollywood.
Hollywood certainly NOT liberal/progressive when it comes to skin color. For the record: you can SEE the racism in hollywood all you need to do SEE who gets the opportunities to win the awards
year after year.

Sarah -

P.S. I wouldn’t call the cover “racist”, just disturbing. I honestly don’t think the people at Vanity Fair were being malicious. It is however disturbing that none of the editors saw nothing wrong with presenting the future of Hollywood as nothing more than light-skinned White girls who all look alike.

Sarah -

Saying that “A new decade” in Hollywood should include talented actors of all colors is not playing the race card. We live in America and it’s 2010, not 1940. Hollywood is filled with many talented people of color who are not given the same opportunities as their White counter-parts. Acting schools have many people of color and so do live theater and broadway. I am really glad that this magazine came out, it shows in full color the problem with Hollywood in relation to the lack of opportunity for talented actresses of ALL colors. I have asked all my friends to boycott this issue as well as to make sure they spend their money on movies with casts featuring people of color as the main stars. I’m White by the way but I believe in the multi-cultural world of America. That’s the country I want my children to grow up in.

Nmulls -

The photo shoot was done pre academy award nominations was it not? I’m so sick of people playing the race card but yet I do wonder where Dakota Fanning was myself.

sandra dee -

I don’t think this is racist at all, although i do believe they are missing someone that goes by the name of Dakota Fanning. (Im half mexican btw) Kristen is my fav.


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