Does Conde Nast Hate Women Of Color?

Okay, we kid. We're sure the suits and stilettos over at Conde Nast Publications mean well when it comes to race relations and media diversity. (They've got all those Blacks and Latinos working in their mailrooms and cafeterias, after all!) But, looking at W magazine's recent photo shoot of "Ugly Betty"'s America Ferrara, one has to wonder.

Big-shot photographer Michael Thompson shot the 22-year-old Ferrara for the magazine's May issue, and the resulting images are a doozy. Ferrara looks rigid and uncomfortable. And her hair and makeup are something more befitting a nightclub chanteuse (not to mention a September or October issue) than a newly-minted, award-winning network star. What would have worked better? A simple, modern fresh hairstyle (and dress!) accessorized with spring-like lip and cheek color and a coat or two of mascara. What did we get? A sultry, age-inappropriate look that does more to turn Ferrara into Hollywood's favorite stereotypical, Latina temptress than celebrate her youth or her optimistic, sunny personality. This, of course, might explain why Ferrara looks miserable in W's accompanying behind-the-scenes video.

We'd understand this, if, say, Ferrara was an actress trying to shift gears, jump-start her career or make the transition from child star to adult actress. And we get that W likes to be edgy. (They made a family-woman out of Angelina Jolie, after all!). But the new W is the second time in as many months that one of Conde Nast's high-fashion magazines has totally missed the boat on one of its unexpected (read: of normal weight and darker skin) cover models, the first of course, being Jennifer Hudson, who played the sassy, how-you-like-me-now role to a tee on the March issue of Vogue.

Perhaps the next time Vogue editor Anna Wintour or W Editorial Director Patrick McCarthy decide to join the 21st century and put a woman of darker color (and wider hips) on the cover of their magazines, they should go to Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley for styling tips. Oh, wait, bad idea!

American Beauty [Style.com]
Related: Jennifer's Oscars Scandal[USMagazine]