Backlash Ensues After ¡Hola! Magazine Whitewashes Yalitza Aparicio

Feb 27, 2019
4:55 PM

Mexican fashion magazine ¡Hola! is being accused of whitewashing Yalitza Aparicio’s complexion in the cover of their issue preceding Oscar night. Not only that, but they also appeared to have slimmed her waist and arms, and in the photo, Yalitza looks taller than she appears to be in real life.

Yalitza appears smiling into the camera, while wearing a long bright-red dress. “I’ve always felt proud of who I am and where I come from,” is one of the quotes the widely-read magazine decided to highlight—ironically.

Here, take a look:

The backlash on social media was pretty swift:

Accustomed to profiling upper-class, usually white, Mexicans (former first lady Angélica Rivera was one of their favorites), ¡Hola! really did mess up with this one. When asked to comment on the concerns expressed by readers, the weekly magazine told BBC Mundo that “at least for now” they would withhold from making a statement.

The 25-year-old teacher-turned Oscar-nominated actress hasn’t directly responded to the racist backlash that she has received since film director Alfonso Cuarón decided to cast her as Cleo in his very intimate film Roma. Still, she is basking in her own glow, as many celebrate her for being a beacon of indigenous representation.

Some Mexican-American women expressed pride about how Yalitza’s high-profile role challenged the typical images of light-skinned Latinas in films and TV shows.

Astrid Silva, an immigrant rights activist in Las Vegas with Mexican heritage, told Associated Press that many Mexican-Americans see themselves in Aparicio.

“She’s a dark-skinned woman (who) comes from a poor region in Mexico like many of our families,” Silva told the AP. “It’s hard to describe. It’s not just pride we’re feeling,” Silva said. “Yalitza is just…us.”

In the past two months, she also upturned the media’s narrative of indigenous peoples in Mexico by being profiled in the cover of over 12 different magazines—that did not whitewash her. Here are a few of those:

In this photo session, Cuarón paired up again with Yalitza for some images with the US-Mexico border wall as a backdrop.

Above, is a beautiful portrayal of Yalitza for the men’s fashion magazine Bad Hombre.

In addition, Yalitza’s co-stars Marina de Tavira and Jorge Antonio Guerrero also posed for the magazine’s March edition.


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Como primera gran apuesta, nos llena de emoción tener por primera vez una doble portada con dos de las mujeres que han sacudido la vida reciente en nuestro país: @yalitzaapariciomtz y @mardetavira. A unas semanas de su nominación al Óscar, ambas actrices nos cuentan el proceso tan excepcional por el que atraviesan y las implicaciones de que su trabajo sea reconocido a este nivel. Las entrevistas de ambas se acompañan de un exquisito trabajo fotográfico por parte de Ricardo Ramos, uno de los lentes más emblemáticos de la escena en México. ? @ricardoramosphoto Estilismo @hernan.esquinca Maquillaje y peinado @gusbortolotti #yalitzaaparicio #romalapelicula Vestido @louisvuitton Aretes @cartier

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Photographer Ricardo Ramos went for a minimalist look in Cream’s magazine cover.


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“Nunca te podrías deslindar de tu origen, el hecho de que yo olvidara eso sería olvidar quién soy” | Empezamos el año #vogue20 con una portada que me llena de mucho orgullo presentarla, honrando a una gran mujer que está siendo inspiración para el mundo @yalitzaapariciomtz @romacuaron @voguemexico ? @santiagoandmauricio estilismo: @pamelaocampo realización: @re_montemayor entrevista: @enriquetorresmeixueiro maquillaje: @mono_godinez peinado: @manueloliva10 Set Design: @monsecastera | In 2019 we celebrate our 20th anniversary, I am honored to have Yalitza Aparicio on our January cover photographed in Mexico City by Mexican photographers. Thank you @re_montemayor for your brilliant idea! Magazines are proof that working together as a team you create great content! #yalitzaenvoguemx

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And of course, how can we forget Yalitza’s appearance on the cover of Vogue Mexico.

Which of these is your favorite?


Emily Corona is a digital intern at Futuro Media. She is a journalist and translator from Mexico City, pursuing a master’s in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies at NYU. She tweets from @daminijo.