Non Asian Models on Asian Bridal Magazines

When I started to write this post it was simply about how a bride to be would feel seeing a non asian on the cover of a asian bridal magazine, would she be able to connect with her? if she was wearing a non traditional outfit, could she see herself dressed in that way?

I'm working on a inspiration board for a UK born bride right now, who asked for English country look, and its easy to see why, living in a western society its only natural that we are majorly influenced by the wedding culture. Many brides wear white gown, at their reception. So as long as its in trend, it will be on the cover.

Brides rocking non traditional looks ~
photo credit Sachin Khona~  see this wedding here
photo credit Biyani Photography ~ see the wedding here

But what if the model on the cover isn't asian and is sporting a white gown with a tiara, take away the name, you may be hard pushed to tell who the mag is aimed at? but should that even bother us, after all content is king, who cares whats on the cover?

Earlier in the year fashion blogger nazma had wrote about the asiana bridal show in this particular show there was a clear shortage of asian models on the runway, which led to criticism for the shows producer, but also a lack of talented trained models, along with unprofessional manner within the industry was blamed for the over use of  non asian models. I began to wonder did this really matter, the ethnicity of who was used, or who was on the cover? Getting the job done matter's more right?

I took to twitter and facebook to get idea what others thought about this issue, of non asian models on asian bridal magazines

here are some comments ~

"there's already a stigma attached to young asian females in the uk especially" There's an ideal where young asian girls feel fair skin is beautiful, and anything darker than beige is a sign of ugliness. We should have darker models on high end magazine covers to promote the message that yes we are asian, and yes many of us will have darker skin and that's fine, because skin colour does not matter. Many girls are using dangerous products to lighten their skin colour and I truly believe that this matter needs to be addressed"
" its partly because of the lack of potential models within Asian communities they have a few Asian models however they are overly used every where its not the sort of profession that most Asian families allow their daughters to do... I myself am yet to work with Asian models I have worked with mainly European models with olive skin tones on Asian bridal shoots" {MUA}

" I think it's really difficult to get into the industry people don't want to train new girls even if it is a tfp shoot, hence it's easier getting someone who knows what their doing.. Which is why  few Asian models are used, then the non asian models are brought in.. But I have to say there are not many dark skinned Asian models on the mag'z it's either fair Asian girl or European girls there's no middle ranking... But I guess for make up artists it can also be stressful as their always looking for that one perfect face...

"It can be really stressful looking for an Asian model, especially outside of London. But I have an ad out at the moment in an Asian magazine and have used a model that is not classed as a fair skinned Asian. I think it's probably more important to use Asian models of all shades of skin colour to connect with your audience. However if you want to connect with the older generation unfortunately they still have a preference for the fair skin look. I think MUAs and photographers and especially magazines can play a big role in changing the way we all perceive beauty." 

"we as a generation can help educate people. The way many people perceive beauty is extremely warped, but it's a tricky topic as even Afro-Caribbean super stars like beyonce are also in the press for lightening their skin, lightening their hair, we should accept that beauty comes in all shapes sizes and colours, and we 
should embrace it. It would probably be better for magazines to use darker models, the readers would definitely appreciate the variety in models"

Twitter also spoke out, branding it awful, dreadful, even claims that models are often lighten more using photo shop to make them look more fair {could be possible after all models are often so airbrushed you cant even see any pores}

I was surprised by the response, no one cared what the model was wearing, the question posed had made the majority of people seeing it nothing to do with race, but about skin colour. It maybe the 21st century but the backwards thoughts that gora {white) skin was better was still with us? So is this about skin discrimination perhaps? I started looking at covers of magazines I found every cover girl, had almost exactly the same tone of skin ~ dare I say fair & lovely!

But what about the lack of models, it's a hard industry to get into, and most Asian parents don't exactly dream their daughter will gown up to be a model. In that case maybe the industry/magazines have no choice in the matter after all even I know not every pretty face can be a "model" and all trained models just happen to be the same colour.

Would love your comments on this? What do you think?

ps thank you to everyone who give their honest opinion.


  1. I know a lot of South Asian women/girls try to get into the modelling industry but cannot because of height restrictions (it's rare to find South Asian girls taller than 5'8 or so). :(
    I would love to see more magazine covers with darker skinned models. Remember the Vogue India cover from last year? So good and such a refreshing change. http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2010/04/13/vogue-india-promotes-darker-skinned-models

  2. great article....i think its important to see south asian women reflected fully on covers and inside.

  3. i have so much to say on this topic, I could literally write an essay. It's great that you are covering it, hopefully people will listen.

    Asiana in the UK is notorious for using visibly non-Asian models and coming up with a slew of excuses for doing so. I understand, they are going for a certain "look." But in a niche market, is that look really pink skin and blue eyes? Please. I don't buy it.

    If there aren't professional Asian models, there are plenty of pro models who look asian, or have duskier skin. Use them, Asian women can identify with their look, if not mimic it exactly. Who models full-time anyway? It's a cut-throat industry anyways, and you have to have something else to tide you through the times when you can't find modelling work.

    In the UK, particularly London, which is host to some of the most prestigious fashion shows in the world, I highly doubt they can't "find" any visibly ethnic models.

    The clothes themselves aren't an issue, since they are from an Asian designer based out of the UK, so totally meeting the demographic's demands, and the few real weddings that I've seen come out of the UK this past year have featured cotton candy puffy white dresses with loads of heavy zardozi and crystal beading on the bodice.

    I don't get it, are they trying to say, you should try and look like a white girl, fake lenses, dyed hair, bleached skin and all in order to pull off the look?

  4. I think we definitely need more "real" Asian (and other Ethnic minority) models. In this day and age, people shouldn't be so prejudiced about skin colour or a certain look. Get rid of the stereotypes and use a range of different looks and different skin tones to reflect the REAL world.

  5. I would like to see more Asians on the runway.

    When I see a magazine that is directed towards the Asian audience with non Asians modeling the clothes, I get two signals: 1. Asians are not good/beautiful/fair enough to be on the cover; 2. The magazine might be directed towards you (an Asian) but they rather use white people to show off the products.

    If Ebony used white models, Africans and black Americans would be in an uproar. A magazine that is catered to a specific ethnic group cannot even find (role) models? Sounds like laziness or cultural insensitivity.

    These magazines, like Asiana, are either lazy or don't care about their target audience. And they send off a poor message: fair is king.


Love hearing what you think...