'REaders make the decisions'

Zinhle Mapumulo, Vusi Ndlovu and Penwell Dlamini

Zinhle Mapumulo, Vusi Ndlovu and Penwell Dlamini

Nigerian supermodel Oluchi Onweagba should understand that readers's preferences determined who appeared on the front covers of local glamour magazines, not racism, editors said yesterday.

And she is too long in the tooth and too skinny to appeal to the readers of local glamour magazines, they said.

Earlier this week Onweagba claimed that the local editions of two international magazines, Glamour and GQ, had snubbed her because she was black.

"It is not about colour, but who my readers relate to at the time," Pnina Fenster, editor of Glamour, said yesterday.

"Anybody who is beautiful and interesting to Glamour readers can grace the cover. In fact we wanted to do a shoot of Oluchi last Wednesday but she was not available, so the shoot was cancelled."

Susie Brokensha of Fairlady also took a swipe at the miffed model, saying her statement was uncalled for.

"As an editor I would be reluctant to use her on the cover of Fairlady because she is way too thin. It is very difficult putting somebody like her on the cover. We [once] had somebody very skinny on the cover and we had to add a bit of fat to make the cover look great," she said.

Cosmopolitan editor Vanessa Raphaely also pooh-poohed Oluchi's pulling of the race card. She said she would also be reluctant to put the veteran model on the magazine's cover because she was no longer a fresh face.

Onweagba, the first winner of the Face of Africa title back in 1997, said yesterday that South Africans should talk about discrimination against black models.

Onweagba was supposed to have had a fashion shoot with the local editions of Glamour and GQ magazines, but she said the sessions were cancelled at the last minute. She claimed the magazines refused to feature her on their front covers because of her skin colour.

Local fashion designer Nkhensani Nkosi said the local magazine industry needed to be transformed. Designer David Tlale said it would be a problem if black models were not featured in magazines because of their colour.

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