Last December, we were excited to report that diversity on the covers of 10 leading U.S. fashion publications — Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Nylon, Teen Vogue, Vogue and W — had improved significantly from 2015 to 2016. Whereas only 27 of 136 covers — that's 19.8 percent — featured people of color* in 2015, 2016 saw sizable lifts in cover star diversity: 52 of 147 covers — 35.3 percent — starred people of color*, a 15.5 percent rise from the year before.
So, how did 2017 stack up? For consistency's sake, we reviewed the covers of nine of the same titles we looked at in 2016, but due to Nylon's print closure, we substituted the late, great pop culture magazine with Marie Claire, which we've reflected in our data.
Of all the covers we reviewed this year, we found that 48 of 153 — 31.3 percent — featured people of color*, a 4 percent dip from the aforementioned numbers we reported in 2016. To further ensure consistency between this year (with the Nylon-Marie Claire switch) and last year, we also counted 2016's titles without Nylon and with Marie Claire, in which case, 51 of 155 — 32.9 percent — of covers starred people of color* last year. That still leaves us with a 1.6 percent decline from 2016 to 2017.
Allure and Teen Vogue (which, despite moving to a quarterly print model, published only one fewer cover this year than last) saw the most diversity, including people of color* on 50 percent of its issues and featuring cover stars like Halima Aden, Sasha Lane and Allure's spectacular shared April cover with Dilone, Imaan Hammam and Aamito Lagum. Glamour followed, with six of its 14 covers, closely followed by Vogue, with five of its 12. Meanwhile, both InStyle and Cosmopolitan posted disappointing declines: InStyle went from having seven of 12 nonwhite* covers in 2016 to just two of 12 — 16.6 percent percent — in 2017, a 41.7 percent drop; Cosmopolitan went from four of 12 in 2016 to just one of 12 — 8.3 percent — in 2016, a 25 percent drop. (It's worth noting that of InStyle's 12 cover stars this year, there was not one black woman.) Glamour saw the most improvement: In 2016, the glossy featured just three nonwhite* covers and this year, upped it to six.
The newsstand better represented age diversity this year, with Helen Mirren, 72; Cicely Tyson, 92; Kathleen Kennedy, 64; Hillary Clinton, 70; Meryl Streep, 68; Barbra Streisand, 75; and Donatella Versace, 62, appearing on the likes of Allure, Elle, Teen Vogue, Vogue and W. In terms of size diversity, Glamour, Vogue and Elle put women like Ashley Graham and Candice Huffine on their covers. We would be remiss, however, if we also did not acknowledge notable lack of both Asian diversity and transgender visibility across the board.
Nicole Kidman racked up the most covers of the year — four, with Elle, Glamour, InStyle and W — followed by Zendaya, Emily Ratajkowski, Solange, Gal Gadot, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid and Chrissy Teigen, each of whom had three. Of the "Instagirls," both Gigi and Bella walked away with three covers, while Kendall Jenner had two. There were some delightfully unexpected cover choices, too, including Missy Elliott on Elle, Chance the Rapper on Teen Vogue and Aden's "American Beauty" July issue of Allure.
Take a look below at what 2017 looked like on the newsstand, as well as how these 10 major U.S. magazines did compared to last year and the year before.
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 6/12 (Zendaya, Alicia Keys, Dilone/Imaan Hammam/Aamito Lagum shared cover, Zoe Kravitz, Halima Aden, Kerry Washington)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 5/13 (Demi Lovato, Naomi Campbell, FKA Twigs, Zoe Saldana, Jessica Alba)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 3/12 (Taraji P. Henson, Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 1/12 (Jennifer Hudson)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 4/12 (Jessica Alba, Shay Mitchell, Zendaya, Chrissy Teigen)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 2/12 (Nicki Minaj, Demi Lovato)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 8/28 (Zoe Kravitz, Solange, Maria Borges, Jasmine Tookes, Missy Elliott, Rihanna, Tessa Thompson, Cicely Tyson)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 9/26 (Priyanka Chopra, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, Beyonce, Leslie Jones, FKA Twigs, Lupita Nyong'o, Aja Naomi King)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 3/19 (Selena Gomez, Ava Duvernay, Salma Hayek)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 6/14 (Alicia Keys, Chrissy Teigen, Kerry Washington, Priyanka Chopra, Zendaya, Solange)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 3/14 (Serena Williams, Joan Smalls, Demi Lovato)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 3/14 (Michelle Obama/Kerry Washington shared cover, Taraji P. Henson, Gina Rodriguez)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 3/11 (Rihanna, Paris Jackson, Adriana Lima/The Weekend shared cover)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 1/11 (Kanye West)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 1/11 (Rihanna)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 2/12 (Selena Gomez, Chrissy Teigen)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 7/12 (Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o, Jessica Alba, Priyanka Chopra, Kerry Washington, Michelle Obama)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 5/12 (Kerry Washington, Mindy Kaling, Zoe Saldana, Eva Longoria, Sofia Vergara)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 6/16 (Gina Rodriguez, Priyanka Chopra, Aja Naomi King, Janelle Monae, Chrissy Teigen, Taraji P. Henson)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 4/18 (Zendaya, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 2/16 (Kerry Washington, Zoe Kravitz)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 5/10 (Sasha Lane, Chance the Rapper, Paris Jackson, Solange, Amandla Stenberg)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 7/11 (Fernanda Ly, Amandla Stenberg, Zoe Kravitz, Willow Smith, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Yara Shahidi)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 4/11 (Zendaya, Binx Walton, Imaan Hammam/Aya Jones/Lineisy Montero shared cover, Fernanda Ly)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 5/12 (Ruth Negga, Liu Wen/Imaan Hammam/Adwoa Aboah shared cover, Selena Gomez, Zendaya, Zayn)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 4/12 (Rihanna, Aston Eaton, Lupita Nyong'o, Michelle Obama)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 3/12 (Serena Williams, Beyoncé, Lupita Nyong'o)
Nonwhite covers in 2017: 6/26 (Ruth Negga, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Lopez/Taraji P. Henson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Pharrell Williams, Mary J. Blige)
Nonwhite covers in 2016: 7/26 (Selena Gomez, Zendaya/Willow Smith shared cover, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Priyanka Chopra, Kanye West)
Nonwhite covers in 2015: 2/22 (Taraji P. Henson, Jourdan Dunn)
*As with previous years, for the purpose of this story, nonwhite included those of mixed race and of Latinx or Hispanic descent. It's important to note, however, that racial identity is very much a social construct and fluid depending on borders.
Note: This story has been updated throughout to reflect that, in years past, we have not included subscriber covers, which has affected Vogue's total count and has changed it from six of 13 nonwhite* covers to five of 12.