Perhaps Vogue Arabia thought the second time would be a charm for its second Hadid-sister cover in less than a year.
If the sight of a Hadid on this magazine’s cover gives you deja vu, perhaps it’s because Gigi Hadid made an appearance on the inaugural cover back in March. She wore a hijab in the issue, and as a result she was accused of cultural appropriation.
Now, Bella Hadid covers the magazine’s September issue, marking one of many coveted covers for the model this month.
In an Instagram post revealing the news, Bella wrote she was “honored and proud” to be on the cover, “specifically to represent and cherish my half-Palestinian blood from my father and his strong, loving, wonderful Arab side of my family.”
In contrast, see Gigi’s March cover:
While not dressed in a hijab like her sister, Bella is seen wearing modest clothing on both the English and Arabic versions of the magazine.
Manuel Arnaut, editor in chief of Vogue Arabia, told the New York Times that Bella is “the perfect fit” for Vogue Arabia, citing her connection to the region as well as her supermodel status.
“The Arab world is not a ghetto,” he said. “It is a highly informed, international and cultured region where global stars like the Hadids have a cult following.”
The Times piece also notes that the Hadids, and Bella in particular, have been more vocal about their connection to their heritage recently, especially in the time since the U.S. election.
Bella has been quoted about her pride for being Muslim and participated with Gigi at a protest against President Trump’s travel ban in January.
Part of the criticism of Gigi’s cover was her silence about being Muslim, except for in times when it’s convenient ― and that notion was not lost on Bella in this case. In her Instagram post she thanked the magazine for “continuing to celebrate and accept all different cultures and customs the way we all should.”
Some social media users left critical comments on Vogue Arabia’s Instagram, writing that Bella is American and that the cover is not Arabic. At least one social media user also questioned her appearance on some of the other covers she appears on this month:
It’s hardly the first time a magazine has been called out for casting controversial cover stars, but this time, in the case of Vogue Arabia, it seems to quite literally be doubling down on its position.