As 10,000 freshly printed copies of the July edition are shipped to newsstands, Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani talked to Reuters about the magazine’s incredibly successful “Black Issue.” This quote, in particular, struck me:
“America … is ready for a black president, so why are we not ready for a black model?”
Aren’t we ready, though? This issue is the first in Condé Nast’s history to be reprinted to satisfy demand. Ad sales were up 30 percent for this issue, even though many of those same advertisers stuck with white models in their ads. Photographer Steven Meisel, who shot the cover story, says,
“I’ve asked my advertising clients so many times, ‘Can we use a black girl?’ They say no. Advertisers say black models don’t sell.”
Right. They don’t sell advertising, which is why these same advertisers snapped up pages in this edition. They don’t sell consumer goods, and it has nothing to do with the product or the ad concept. They don’t sell at the newsstand, but it was Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover of the year’s worst selling issue.
So where does the problem really lie? Looks like America is certainly ready for more diverse models, but are magazines?