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Vogue's First Modelo Oaxaqueña Is Bringing Indigenous Mexican Beauty To High Fashion

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO2245 views
Vogue's First Modelo Oaxaqueña Is Bringing Indigenous Mexican Beauty To High Fashion

Karen Vega is Vogue Mexico's first-ever Oaxaqueña model - and she's popping off on the cover.

At just 18 years old, Karen Vega is being featured on the cover of Vogue Mexico, in their July issue. It is the first time in the fashion bible's history that a Oaxacan model has graced their pages.

And grace she does. Or more like pop, wearing a bright pink dress as she stands in a green field with her head held high against a bright blue sky, piel morena glowing, black hair shining in the sunlight.



Karen began her modeling career at 14, trying on dresses. 

Not in a dressing room or her older sister's closet, but for a professional seamstress, her grandmother.

Grandma was building dresses for a local fashion line and asked slender Karen to help with the fittings. She loved it.



So, Karen started reading fashion magazines, learning about fashion and modeling. She saw very few faces like hers.

Then she saw Yalitza on the cover of Vogue.

It was a sign. Her dream would be difficult to achieve, but it wasn't impossible. 



Karen was invited by Oaxacan designer Pompi García to participate in his collaboration with photographer Enrique Leyva, a series called "Magical Realism."

"They wanted to show more brown skin in their projects, and they thought I could help them bring to life the images they had envisioned," Karen told Vogue Mexico.

And she did.



"Loving your skin and your roots," reads one of her captions of Instagram. "Love yourself."

For many brown-skinned girls and women with indigenous features, this can be a struggle, as they are confronted every day with pages and screens full of light-skinned faces with European features. 

Many people in Mexico and Latin America look down on people with darker skin tones and still use the term "india" as an insult.



Karen's cover isn't just a fashion achievement, it a big step toward changing beauty ideals and dismantling colorism and anti-indigenous bias.


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Thank you Vogue Mexico. Keep shining Karen.

Representation matters.