December 18, 2021

French ELLE rejected photos of Chimamanda – Sources


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie during the week brought to light the absolute disregard of Africans by an international magazine when the said publication reportedly termed the images she sent to them for a proposed cover as “looking too glamorous”.

Chimamanda who made this known in a post on her Instagram page said the cover for the magazine did not happen because of the rejection.

“It was a cover shoot for an international magazine. Or it was supposed to be. The magazine rejected the photos. They didn’t want me ‘looking too glamorous,’ they said. And so the cover didn’t happen,” she wrote in the caption.

Although Adichie did not name the international magazine, more details have come to light about what really transpired behind the scenes. One of the persons who worked on the set of the photoshoot exclusively confirms to Vanguard that they were shooting for ELLE, the French magazine.

The source also revealed that Adichie was the one who insisted that the shoot should be done in Nigeria, as the magazine wanted to do it abroad.

French ELLE agreed to shoot in Nigeria. They spoke to the photographer who would do the shoot, told him what they wanted, and they agreed on terms. The source confirms that French ELLE organized all the logistics for the photoshoot, and even sent some designer outfits to Lagos.

“It was then very surprising to all of us who worked on the set after all this, to hear that French ELLE rejected the pictures. Looking at some of their other magazine covers, you can see that they use glamorous-looking women. So why did they not want Chimamanda’s photos to look glamorous?” the source questioned.

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In the comments that have been shared on social media since Adichie’s post went viral earlier in the week, many users have said that it is likely that the magazine believed that as a Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie should look a certain way and should not be glamorous. Many have gone ahead to call it a case of racism and stereotyping.

Adichie who has been known to be a huge promoter of Nigerian culture and brands on the global stage, especially with her Wear Nigerian project decided to share the photos in an attempt to still give visibility and consequent opportunities to the Nigerian vendors who worked on the shoot. “What does one do with rejected photos but show them anyway, primarily for the vanity-boosting benefits of such an act, but also to celebrate and thank these talented people in Lagos,” she wrote on her Instagram page and went on to tag the vendors who worked on the shoot.