Kamala Harris will be sworn in as Vice President on January 20, but on Sunday it was her new Vogue cover making a splash. The February cover, which features the Vice President-elect standing in her signature Converse sneakers in front of pink and green drapes (the colors of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the sorority she was a member of while at Howard University), is being skewered online, with many saying the styling is underwhelming, unflattering and certainly not fitting of the nation’s first Madam Vice President.
“I’ll shoot shots of VP Kamala Harris for free using my Samsung and I’m 100-percent confident it’ll turn out better than this Vogue cover,” writer and speaker Wajahat Ali tweeted. Vogue’s Instagram account was also flooded with criticism for the cover image, with commenters calling it “horrendous” and “disrespectful” to Harris. Some saw it as a cultural misstep for the magazine, which has long been accused of white-washing and using unflattering images in the rare moments that it does feature Black women on the cover.
According to reporter Yashar Ali, sources confirmed the cover photo was not the one Harris’s team expected. “In the cover that they expected, Vice President-elect Harris was wearing a powder blue suit. That was the cover that the Vice President-elect’s team and the Vogue team, including [editor in chief] Anna Wintour, mutually agreed upon,” Ali tweeted.
The cover featuring Harris in a powder blue suit is now being used as the magazine’s February digital cover.
Both photographs of Harris were taken by photographer Tyler Mitchell, who in 2018 became the first Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover when he photographed Beyoncé. Mitchell, who did not immediately reply to Yahoo Life’s request for comment, notably only shared the powder blue suit cover on his social media accounts. Replied one Twitter user: “Now that’s a cover shot for the most powerful woman in the world.”
The accompanying article inside the magazine tells the story of Harris’s career, and reminds readers of all the remarkable firsts she has achieved.
“I always say this: I may be the first to do many things — make sure I’m not the last,” Harris says in the magazine. “I was thinking of my baby nieces, who will only know one world where a woman is vice president of the United States, a woman of color, a Black woman, a woman with parents who were born outside of the United States.”
Harris was previously profiled in Vogue in 2018, a year after she took office as the junior senator from California. That article closed with a prescient quote from Sen. Cory Booker who said at the time, “I told her this before she got here: Should she choose to become a senator, she would immediately be on the short list for president or vice president for the next 20 years.”