Karlie Kloss Apologizes for Controversial Geisha Vogue Spread

Karlie Kloss
Stephen Lovekin/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Supermodel Karlie Kloss took to Twitter Wednesday morning to apologize for her participation in a Vogue photoshoot in which she was styled as a Japanese geisha.

The photo series appeared in Vogue’s March issue of the magazine, which was touted as their “diversity” issue. In the Mikael Jansson-shot spread, Kloss is dressed in geisha garb, a jet black wig, and traditional make-up. The photos include one of Kloss posing next to a sumo wrestler, another of her in front of a tea house wearing a kimono, among others.

After the images sparked an online outrage, Vogue removed them from their website. (They can still be seen here.)

Kloss’ tweeted an apology on her personal account early Wednesday morning.

“These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive,” Kloss writes. “My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future shoots and projects reflect that mission.”

But this isn’t the first time Kloss has come under fire for cultural appropriation. During the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in November 2012, Kloss received heat for appearing on the runway clad in a Native American-inspired headdress, and the look was later edited out of the TV broadcast. During a September 2016 Marc Jacobs fashion show, Kloss and other models sported dreadlock wigs.

The backlash comes on the heels of fellow model Gigi Hadid being accused of mocking of Asians. A video posted by Gigi’s sister Bella depicted the model giggling and squinting her eyes as she held up a cookie with Buddha’s face on it. The footage was later deleted.

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  1. Northern says:

    If this is cultural appropriation or that the concept even exists then Asians should only live in Asia, Europeans only live in Europe and Africans only live in Africa etc.

    All them immigrants flooding Europe, they are culturally appropriating by there mere existence on the land. Or that Africans speak English etc etc.

    I hope you can see how incredibly stupid this concept is. There is no such thing as cultural appropriation, at least not in a way that should be viewed as negative.

  2. This is why Trump won, folks. Crackpot academics (and their indoctrinated grads in the press) with their half-baked theories on race, class, culture and gender, have already destroyed higher education. Now they want to control society and deny freedom of expression. This is why Republicans will be in power for a long time.

  3. Yukiyo says:

    I am Japanese living in Japan. I was expecting to see something more offensive when I heard Karlie apologized but I didn’t find any. Karlie in the costume was beautiful although the dress didn’t look traditional Japanese and I would have thought they are from some other part in Asia if not with Japanese landscape.
    I felt more racism from the people saying this is offensive because they think white are the center of the world and anyone else is weaker and lesser that are to be protected…

  4. I am a Japanese person living in Japan. Nothing in the pictures is harmful against my pride. I do not understand why those are discriminative. I have found no comments which criticize this pictures in Japan.
    If this is “cultural appropriation”, should Japanese models be prohibited to wear western clothes?

  5. takuto says:

    i seriously cannot understand what she apologized for. she was sorry because she dressed in Geisha costume? cultual apporopriation? political correctness? whatever it is, this is plain ridiculous. I’m sure 99% of japanese do not find these pics offensive.

  6. Hera says:

    So it’s the ‘diversity’ issue… but they still get a white woman to take over a position that could’ve went to an East Asian? Liu Wen only is featured once… like what?

  7. Ocean says:

    How could she not know that wasn’t okay at the time? I really don’t get it lol. Honestly, for the life of me, I cannot understand how she couldn’t see that coming especially after the Victoria’s Secret and Marc Jacobs incidents. I guess when you’ve been in an industry that has been appropriating and doing some pretty borderline and also blatantly racist stuff since you were a teenager – during your most formative years its probably pretty hard to discern what right and wrong is when you haven’t had the same experiences as the average teenager or young adult.

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