French Magazine Numero has stirred up quite the controversy this week. One of their latest editorials, "African Queen," features Caucasian model Ondria Hardin in what seems to be pounds of skin-darkening makeup.

The scandal has renewed a discussion about racial exploitation and ignorance within the fashion industry. Maybe they used blackface because there was a lack of Black models? Nope. Hardin is contracted under Ford Models, one of the biggest and most diverse agencies in the world.


Numero has already issued an apology via Huffington Post, but it seems they don't address the blackface as a problem at all:

The artistic statement of the photographer Sebastian Kim, author of this editorial, is in line with his previous photographic creations, which insist on the melting pot and the mix of cultures, the exact opposite of any skin color based discrimination. Numéro has always supported the artistic freedom of the talented photographers who work with the magazine to illustrate its pages, and has not took part in the creation process of this editorial.

For its part, Numéro Magazine, which has the utmost respect for this photographer’s creative work, firmly excludes that the latest may have had, at any moment, the intention to hurt readers’ sensitivity, whatever their origin.

Numéro Magazine considers that it has regularly demonstrated its deep attachment to the promotion of different skin-colored models. For instance, the next issue of Numéro for Man on sale on 15th march has the black model Fernando Cabral on the cover page, and the current Russian edition’s cover of our magazine features the black model Naomi Campbell on its cover. This demonstrates the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations made against our magazine, deeply committed to the respect for differences, tolerance and more generally to non-discrimination.

Considering the turmoil caused by this publication, the Management of Numéro Magazine would like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this editorial.

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