Entertainment

Elle Magazine Has Its First Ever ‘Latinx Issue’ With a Blonde Selena Gomez On the Cover And People Have Thoughts

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Selena Gomez is the cover girl for Elle magazine’s first ever “Latinx issue,” which, in and of itself, should be a good thing. On Twitter, Elle‘s editor-in-chief, Colombiana Nina Garcia, expressed her excitement over the issue.

“As the first Latina to run a major fashion magazine, I wanted to dedicate an entire issue that honors my roots,” she wrote. “When brainstorming, I couldn’t think of a better ambassador than @selenagomez”. Garcia even described the issue as a “long-time passion project of mine.”

But when the Elle cover came out, people couldn’t help but be disappointed. Many Latinos did not see the portrait of inclusion and representation that they were hoping for.

Other than Selena Gomez (who looked unrecognizable), there were almost no Latinos involved in the cover’s styling. “Elle US really said here’s a ‘Latinx Issue’ with no Latin American designers nowhere near the cover story ….. it’s not adding up girls it’s giving lazy and unimaginative,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another wrote: “‘Latinx’ issue, but they edit her to look like Marilyn Monroe. If I were director of this magazine, for an issue aimed at young Latinas, I’d have done a more artistically exotic photoshoot, something really culturally beautiful. [There] Are better ways to honor Hispanic heritage month.”

First, let’s get this out of the way: there is no “one way” to look Latino. That bears repeating: there is no one way to look Latino. That being said, many Latinos are acutely aware of how white Latinos have historically been praised and held up as the paradigm of beauty throughout Latinidad.

Just look at the cast of any telenovela or a lineup at any concurso de belleza. Darker Afro-Latina and Afro-Indigenous folks have not been celebrated in the same way as light-skinned Latino/as have.

Selena Gomez is beautiful, and yes, she is Latina, but many readers couldn’t help but comment on how Elle styled her to look like Marilyn Monroe — a white, American icon.

Or how the cover’s photographers are a famous Dutch duo. Or how Gomez was head-to-toe clothed in mainstream, non-Latino designers like Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

A Latinx issue would’ve been a perfect opportunity to highlight lesser-known, indie Latino designers and/or hire a Latino photographer. There are tons of Indigenous-Latino and Afro-Latino designers and creatives whom Elle could’ve called. Or maybe “Elle” could have offered different covers of various famous Latinas–ones that come in all shapes and colors.

While it is commendable that Nina Garcia and Elle magazine went out of their way to celebrate admirable Latinos and Latinas, they could’ve executed this better.

They could’ve styled Selena Gomez differently. They could’ve done a better job integrating various aspects of Latino heritage into the cover. And mostly, they could’ve done a better job of employing Latino creatives behind-the-scenes. Otherwise, simply throwing a mainstream Latina pop star on the cover of their “Latinx issue” feels like an empty gesture.

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