NEW YORK (AP) — White model Karlie Kloss is apologizing for appearing in a fashion spread in Vogue’s diversity issue styled as a geisha, calling it culturally insensitive.
Kloss, who has Danish and German roots, was photographed by Mikael Jansson in a black wig and wears a kimono in one shot and poses beside a sumo wrestler in another. In its introduction, Vogue writes that the spread is “paying homage to geisha culture.”
Kloss took to Twitter on Wednesday to apologize for “participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive. My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future shoots and projects reflect that mission.”
This isn’t the first time Kloss has had to apologize for cultural appropriation. In 2012 she was “deeply sorry” after wearing a Native American feather headdress, suede vest, skirt, and turquoise jewelry at a Victoria Secret fashion show. The outfit was later removed from subsequent broadcasts.
The issue of “whitewashing,” in which Caucasians are chosen for roles that actors of other ethnicities ideally would play, has taken on new urgency in the wake of Matt Damon’s film “The Great Wall.”
Damon plays an English mercenary in the upcoming $150 million adventure fantasy. But the movie’s trailer sparked criticism in the U.S. that a white man had been chosen to play the lead in a film set in China meant to showcase Chinese culture.