American Vogue might might have made some missteps in representation this month, but across the pond, Vogue Paris is showing signs of long overdue progress. The French fashion glossy’s March issue features transgender Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio.
The 19-year-old model’s cover features the tagline, “Transgender beauty: How they’re shaking up the world.” French Vogue shared the image on Instagram, writing, “This month we are proud to celebrate transgender beauty and how models like Valentina Sampaio, who is posing for her first ever Vogue cover, are changing the face of fashion and deconstructing prejudice.” Valentina previously graced the cover of Elle Brazil in November 2016.
French Vogue’s editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt translated her editor’s letter to American Vogue’s Fashion News Director Mark Holgate, saying that Valentina “looked exactly like her idea of a typical French Vogue beauty, any Vogue beauty, no different from Daria Werbowy or Anna Ewers; it’s just that she happened to be born a boy.”
“We are living in a world at the moment, what is happening right now, we are stepping back,” she told Mark. “Instead of being in a constant evolution, which is what should happen, human rights … they’re not going in a good direction. This cover is about the importance of those rights, and that we still need to make progress on an awful lot of stuff.”
It’s not French Vogue’s first time expanding inclusivity in the industry. In 2007, former EIC Carine Roitfeld put Andre J., a black, androgynous model, next to Carolyn Murphy on the November issue.
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