When will Vogue Philippines feature the “morena” beauty of Filipinos on the cover?


When Vogue Philippines debuted, the excitement was palpable. In the wake of your Jo Koys and appreciation of cuisines like tortang talongs, the iconic American magazine arrived in a climate of growing Filipino representation in Western media.

But two covers in, something is sorely missing. The first featured Filipino-American model Chloe Magno to much fanfare. The second has Filipino-Chinese Ica Dy, whose tagline “Ginhawa in the skin we’re in,” ironically summarizes the buzzing concern about Vogue PH’s direction.

Let’s get this out of the way: There is nothing inherently wrong with the models. Fil-Ams and Fil-Chis are Pinoy. So are mestizos and other halfies. But the question remains: When will we see the “morena” beauty of Filipinos? 


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“Ginhawa in the skin we’re in” has Vogue Philippines asking Filipino readers to be proud of the features they were born with. “Ginhawa” itself is a Cebuano word that means “relief.”

That’s awesome messaging! But most Filipinos are not chinita, nor do they have white skin or sport westernized looks. If the message intends to resonate with the majority, the majority should see themselves in the message.

Vogue PH’s cover piece talks about being unapologetically Asian in a modeling industry that still prefers Eurocentric features. Again, excellent advocacy! But being Asian means coming off as Korean, Chinese, or Japanese, nationalities at the cusp of breaking the barrier, thanks to the recent surge in their cultural impact.

Right now, Vogue PH is content to ride on the world’s newfound love for our East Asian neighbors, or the long-established adoration of halfies in our mainstream media. It has yet to distinguish itself as a Philippine publication that celebrates what makes Filipino beauty and fashion distinct, which is how many envisioned it in the beginning.


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There is nothing wrong with Vogue PH’s current direction. This piece is not a call to invalidate anyone’s citizenry or to pit Filipinos against each other.

But for such an influential name, Vogue Philippines can be so much more. It has the power to either ride on the coattails of its international sister publications, or be a platform that magnifies beauty standards unique to Filipinos, not only in the country but also worldwide.

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