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Gigi Hadid and Vogue Arabia: Is It Cultural Appropriation?

Everyone knows Gigi Hadid. She is known for many things but is most prominently recognized for her career in modelling. At the age of 21, Gigi Hadid has racked up over 15 international Vogue covers alone. These international covers include those from Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, and of course the infamous American Vogue.

Today, another Vogue cover was added to the list, as Gigi landed the the cover of the very first Vogue Arabia magazine. The cover features Gigi wearing a beaded cloth covering her face with her eyes showing through. Vogue Arabia’s Editor-in-chief stated “In one poised photograph, she communicates a thousand words to a region that’s been waiting far too long for its Vogue voice to speak.” in regard to Hadid’s cover.

However, upon the release of the photographs, there was an uproar amongst many people of Arab descent as well as those who believed Hadid was in fact appropriating the Arab culture. A great amount of people concluded that Vogue Arabia did wrong by hiring Hadid as a model for the cover, when there were many capable Arab models available. These people also insisted that she used her culture only when it benefited her, and nothing else.

So she remembers she has Palestinian/Muslim roots when she needs it for her own career. How sweet.” @lxrryxmofo via Twitter.

“how is Vogue Arabia gon use Gigi to wear something similar to a hijab and niqab, with someone who doesnt even claim their religion, a mess.” @ZIAMSBEFOUR via twitter

In response, other individuals are stating that due to Hadid’s Palestinian background, she is representing her culture in a proper retrospect, rather than appropriating it.

“Yes and they chose her bc its their first cover and she’s a WORLDWIDE half arabic model. Its not that deep, im arab and satisfied.” @GigitheMalik via Twitter.

Gigi Hadid has been accused of appropriation many times, including that of Black culture, as well as South Asian culture. A Vogue photoshoot of a tanned Hadid wearing an Afro led to alot criticism, along with terrible backlash just a year back.There was also an incident in which Hadid posted a picture of her along with a group of friends wearing henna, in which she was accused of appropriating the South Asian culture as well as Middle Eastern. Hadid clarified by stating in her Instagram caption “& before you go all “cultural appropriation” in my comments, check out the last name. Hadid. Half Palestinian & proud of it.”

As a result, although clarifications have been made by Hadid as well as her team about her background, the word appropriation is still in the air about many actions she commits. However, in terms of the Vogue Arabia cover, the question remains, is Gigi Hadid appropriating the Arabs – as well as Muslims – or is it considered ‘okay’ due to her Palestinian background?

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Meshall described in eight words: Aspiring Activist. Avid Reader. Food Enthusiast. Television Fanatic. When she's not in a heated discussion about equality, she can be found watching Netflix and eating Ramen.

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