Gigi Hadid's Vogue Hong Kong Covers Sparks Internet Backlash Over 2017 Buddha Cookie 'Racism'

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Vogue Hong Kong has launched as the 25th edition of the publication, with Gigi Hadid and Sun Feifei (aka Fei Fei Sun) covering the first issue, on sale today March 3, 2019 in Hong Kong..

Photographed by Nick Knight, the models each take a solo spot before appearing together on the third and final version. Both models wear Chanel Haute Couture, from Karl Lagerfeld’s last collection. The designer is prominently featured on the landing page of Vogue Hong Kong’s new website, as well as in the print publication.

The Vogue Hong Kong team will be led by Peter Wong, who assumes the role of Editorial Director. Joining Wong will be Senior Fashion Content Editor, Daniel Cheung, and Fashion Director, Anya Ziourov.

Speaking to WWD about about the decision to feature a western and an Asian model on the cover, Vogue Hong Kong publisher Desiree Au remarked that Hong Kong has "always been a mix of east and west".

This may be reality, but the Internet burst into furor over Gigi Hadid’s cover appearance. It turns out that people have a long memory over Hadid’s 5-second video of now-infamous eye moves. No one was upset that the restaurant served her a cookie depicting the face of Buddha. It was Hadid’s brief mimicking of the cookie with her eyes, that got her in a heap of trouobe.

"Gigi has a very city vibe and strong sense of energy and is dynamic, which I felt is very Hong Kong,” Au said, in explaining her cover story choice before all hell broke lose. Vogue Hong Kong has now taken down Gigi Hadid’s solo debut cover from Instagram. Chinese social media ran Hadid out of town in advance of the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Hong Kong — forcing her to cancel her appearance.


“(Sun Fei Fei) is obviously Chinese but has made it big in the west as well. We wanted somebody from Asia but also with a very international outlook.” So far, Fei Fei is not under attack for appearing with Gigi Hadid, but in today’s digital world, no one is safe.

Vogue Hong Kong’s debut issue runs more than 350 pages. Au confessed that the news of Lagerfeld's passing from pancreatic cancer necessitated changes days before publication.

“Can you imagine? Pushing printing to basically a week before but this is the beauty of Hong Kong,” she said. “Distribution is fast, printing is fast. We’re really able to get things that are last minute into the magazine.…This is very Hong Kong.”

Carine Roitfeld Breaks Ranks With Gigi & Halima Promoting UNICEF USA & Doing Good In CR Fashionbook #23


Models Gigi Hadid and Halima Aden cover CR Fashion Book Issue 13, an issue dedicated to UNICEF USA, according to editor Carine Roitfeld.  Carine broke away from the fashion pack with her fall issue, dedicated to doing good by raising awareness for the global children's relief organization with two of its newest ambassadors Hadid, the half Palestinian daughter of a Syrian refugee and Aden, a Somali refugee and prominent Muslim, hijab-wearing model. 

“The state of fashion media is absolutely in flux so it was really important for me to use my existing platform for good,” Roitfeld told The Hollywood Reporter. Choosing to spotlight UNICEF USA was a response to the international news. According to the organization, “more children are on the move now than at any point since World War II,” notes Roitfeld, the editor of Vogue Paris for a decade before founding CR Fashion Book in 2012.

Reflecting on the state of magazines generally, Carine Roitfeld says: "It’s difficult for me to talk about the future because things are constantly changing. Over 15 years ago I was asked this question while everyone was going digital and no one knew what was going to happen. Print survived then and it’s still trying to survive now," she says. "Today we are up against social media, which is a blessing and curse. People have much more access in real time — they don’t want to wait until an issue hits stands to read something. I think maybe some magazines will stay but they have to be very beautiful, like a collector’s item. They have to feature people and topics that are unique, that stand out but also resonate globally.”


Gigi Hadid was in the Jamtoli Refugee Camp in Bangladesh days ago, telling the UNICEF story to her over 40 million Instagram followers. And Halima achieved her dream she discussed with Carine in December 2017 of becoming a UN Ambassador. Aden recently returned to her refugee camp in Kenya to launch a TEDX talk. 


Gigi Hadid and Halima Aden Model Archives @ AOC

UN Ambassador Gigi Hadid Visits Jamtoli Refugee Camp In Bangladesh, Housing Rohingya Muslims

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Gigi Hadid has embarked on her first humanitarian mission as a UNICEF ambassador, visiting the Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh as part of a United Nations Children’s Fund initiative. The part Palestinian model is documenting her visit with Muslim children in Cox's Bazaar's Jamtoli Refugee Camp on her Instagram account. The Jamtoli Refugee Camp is currently home to approximately 45,000 Rohingya refugees who escaped Myanmar after the 2012 riots that resulted in the displacement of over 90,000 people.

The 23-year-old showed her 40 million followers a football game with some of the children, along with this text:

“As well as psychosocial work to help them get through trauma through activities like art, they also can play sports, learn music, and learn to read & draw (some for the first time in their lives). Separate from educational spaces, the importance of these spaces is huge due to the fact that refugee children can spend a majority of the day working, usually collecting fire wood from miles away so their families can cook, taking care of siblings, helping around the house, etc., and here they can just focus on having fun!”

Hadid also visited the ‘Women/Girl Friendly’ zones in the Jamtoli Camp: a safe place for females, young and old, to come learn basic education as well as personal hygiene, skills such as sewing, and also a place where they can share and connect with other women and girls.

AOC missed the June announcement that Gigi Hadid was joining HM Queen Rania of Jordan, Serena Williams, Priyanka Chopra and Katy Perry as a UNICEF International Ambassador.  We've never been critical of Gigi, including when she speaks in support of Palestinians, but it thrills us extra, when she puts her celebrity status to good works like this visit to Bangladesh. This is true beauty!!

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