Rihanna Goes White and Blonde On New Vogue UK Cover

The new look is all too common for darker skinned women who end up on the covers of magazines.

By Jorge Rivas Oct 04, 2011

The blonde wig may be throwing us off, but Rihanna is on the cover of British Vogue’s November 2011 issue and she’s looking much lighter.

It could be the actual lighting on set, it could be that we’ve gotten used to her wearing a fire engine-red wig, or it could be that someone forget to tell Vogue’s retoucher that Rihanna is in fact black.

What do think? Chime in the comments and help us figure it out.

Skin lightening in beauty magazines is an all too common practice. At this point it’s just a question of how severely a person will be lightened. ELLE did it to the most beautiful woman in the world most recently, they’ve transformed Gabourey Sidibe into a much lighter cover girl. L’Oreal whitewashed Beyonce, too.

There’s a thriving skin lightening beauty industry too and that one can be dangerous. In 2003, Dr. S. Allen Counter, a professor of neurophysiology and neurology at Harvard Medical School questioned why it was mostly women who were dealing with increased rates of mercury poisoning in places like Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even in the Southwestern United States

In every case, clinical questioning revealed that the women had used skin-whitening creams — many for years. In other words, these women had tried so desperately to whiten their skin color that they had poisoned their bodies by applying mercury-based "beauty creams."

Ninety percent of the women entering border clinics in Arizona with mercury poisoning were Mexican-American, and they like their Mexican counterparts had been using skin-whitening creams such as "Crema de Belleza-Manning," which is manufactured in Mexico. These skin-whitening creams contain mercurous chloride, which is readily absorbed through the skin. Saudi, African, and Asian women were also using these skin-bleaching chemicals in a tragic attempt to change their appearance to that of white women.