Kim Kardashian on Vogue India’s Cover Stirs Controversy

She may be one of the world's most famous women, but was this too far?
March 18, 2018
8 mins read

Kim Kardashian West, a style expert, influencer and brand owner, is currently under fire for her recent feature in the coveted magazine Vogue India. Kardashian is looking lovely on the cover; however, people have issues with the fact that Vogue India has chosen a non-Asian representative to be their feature.

This is not the first member of the Kardashian-Jenner family to stir up backlash. In fact, back in 2017, Kim’s younger sister, Kendall Jenner, was also the star on the cover, and she subsequently received unfavorable responses from the public.

People are accusing Vogue India of not sticking to their origins, to which founder Condé Nast states that the purpose of the magazine is to “[set] a benchmark for the industry and [establish] itself as the only multimedia company dedicated to reaching the affluent Indian.”

Many have also pointed out that due to Kardashian’s popularity in the western world, seeing her on the cover of a magazine dedicated to a minority population seems unfair and tiring.

In one particular tweet about the issue, Twitter user @fariiihaa says, “I can’t believe @VOGUEIndia featured Kim Kardashian on their cover, as if we don’t see her featured on a different magazine every day. India’s Vogue should embrace and feature their own south Asian women instead of choosing someone from pop culture.

Her point seemed to resonate with many others, as well.


Whether you are a fan or not, you can’t deny the amount of attention Kardashian gets, and her power and influence in the media are prominent. That said, it’s no surprise that global organizations, such as Vogue India, would want to get her on their magazine.

However, the fact that the media already underrepresents people of color rubs viewers the wrong way, and they sought out this magazine feature as a chance to change that by supporting their own women of color.

As a result, people are disappointed that Vogue India wasted such a prime opportunity on an already-famous American celebrity, and they are finding the magazine’s previously mentioned statement hypocritical.

INSIDER’s writer Channing Hargrove finds this botched publication to be a letdown. She points out, “There probably are Indian women who love and support Kardashian (and Jenner, too), but why shouldn’t this publication serve as a chance to highlight and promote its culture at an elevated level, rather than relying on popular American culture?”

Vogue India’s editor-in-chief responded to the backlash in a statement issued to INSIDER, in which she says, “A big part of the criticism leveled against Vogue for featuring Kim Kardashian West on the cover has been concentrated on putting a ‘non-Indian face’ on the cover.”

She then proceeded to dispel that by expressing that over 90 percent of their cover models have been the country’s leading names.

She continues, “We feature women that our readers want to read about — talented, intelligent women who have made a mark in their respective fields. These can be Indian, or these can be women who generate tremendous interest in India. One’s nationality is no marker of one’s merit.”

Kardashian’s shoot with Vogue India featured her wearing a lehenga, which many people are calling cultural appropriation. (Image via HER)

Furthermore, people on the internet have issues with Kardashian’s wardrobe, specifically her lehenga. A lehenga is a traditional, long, embroidered skirt, usually only worn for special or formal events, such as weddings or holidays.

Having a person who is not Indian wearing such an important piece of clothing has many calling out the magazine for cultural appropriation. The fact that the public considers Kardashian to be a “white” individual fuels the fire, as many are accusing the magazine of white-washing their own publication.

However, there has been a number of people voicing their support for Kardashian and defending her appearance. They point out that Vogue India does, in fact, have many Indian features all the time and rarely get an international feature, much less a star as big as Kardashian.

Further defense brings in the established hatred the Kardashian family gets on the daily, and many people are saying that the anger surrounding this issue is an extension of said hatred.

Twitter user @annettealmighty voices their opinion, as well. They say, “Y’all only care about this when it’s a Kardashian/Jenner but not anyone else at least hold the same viewpoints when they put other non Indians on the covers.”

To their credit, it is fair to agree that the Kardashian family has been facing a lot of mixed responses from the public for ages now. With that in mind, there will always be supporters, and there will always be haters of the popular family.

Additionally, there have been supporters who point out the magazine’s consistency when featuring Indian cover girls, sharing screenshots of the magazine’s print history for 2017, where out of 26 covers, 23 of them featured Indian women.

Taking all of the facts and opinions into account, the majority of the displeasure from this magazine feature seems to stem largely from a non-Indian woman being on the cover, as well as a pre-set displeasure toward Kardashian’s general presence.

A lot of critics have formed their directed hatred toward Kardashian’s infamous path to stardom via a sex tape, as well as biased opinions over the entire family as a whole, in which many claim that they do not provide anything for society other than drama and entertainment.

Yet many praise Kardashian for being a businesswoman and a person of inspiration who built herself up to the position she is in now.

The mixed responses regarding Kardashian never seem to end, and it looks like her decisions will always encounter biased opinions. Being in the public eye for the majority of your life makes you vulnerable to such facts, and it is an unfortunate setback for the price of fame.

Grace John, Rutgers University

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Grace John

Rutgers University

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