Karlie Kloss appeared in a photoshoot dressed as a geisha for Vogue’s March diversity issue, which came out yesterday.
The spread – titled “Spirited Away” – was shot in Japan by frequent Vogue photographer Mikael Jansson and styled by Phyllis Posnick. Jansson posted a photo of Kloss on his Instagram yesterday with the caption “Karlie Kloss in Japan, 2017. Vogue Magazine, unpublished.”
People immediately took issue with Kloss being dressed as a geisha.
They called both her and Vogue out for cultural appropriation and whitewashing, citing other examples of white women being cast as Asians.
Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton turn to Karlie Kloss. “Your turn, girl.”
Karlie on phone: “Hello… https://t.co/jbinRMTJxy
A lot of people were annoyed that Vogue chose a white model to appear as a Japanese geisha instead of an actual Japanese model.
There is a whole country called Japan with Japanese women and they picked a white girl. Wow. https://t.co/9xedXXLQBJ
@bestkkpics @karliekloss were all these actual japanese models busy or something?
They also pointed out the added irony of Kloss’s six-page spread appearing in the diversity issue, while the two models of color were given only one picture each.
Karlie Kloss gets a 6-page spread in yellowface for Vogue’s DIVERSITY ISSUE… while Imaan Hammam & Liu Wen get one… https://t.co/U7DyfKmqZk
Since then, Kloss has issued an apology on Twitter saying that she was “truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive,” and that she will ensure her future shoots and projects reflect her mission to “empower and inspire women.”