Journalist, activist and speaker Noor Tagouri had been anticipating a life-changing feature in American Vogue after finding out months ago that she’d be included in the magazine’s February issue. But when she came across the publication on the shelves of John F. Kennedy International Airport on Thursday, she turned the pages to find her photo and instead saw an upsetting mistake — the Libyan American had been misidentified as Pakistani actress Noor Bukhari.
Tagouri took to Instagram to post a video of her reaction, where followers can sense her inevitable disappointment. Although she’s excited to simply see her face within the famous magazine’s pages at first, Tagouri expression quickly turns when she notices the misprint.
“I’m so heartbroken and devastated,” Tagouri wrote. “I have been misrepresented and misidentified multiple times in media publications — to the point of putting my life in danger. I never, ever expected this from a publication I respect so much and have read since I was a child.”
I’m SO heartbroken and devastated. Like my heart actually hurts. I’ve been waiting to make this announcement for MONTHS. One of my DREAMS of being featured in American @VogueMagazine came true!! We finally found the issue in JFK airport. I hadn’t seen the photo or the text. Adam wanted to film my reaction to seeing this for the first time. But, as you can see in the video, I was misidentified as a Pakistani actress named Noor Bukhari. My name is Noor Tagouri, I’m a journalist, activist, and speaker. I have been misrepresented and misidentified MULTIPLE times in media publications – to the point of putting my life in danger. I never, EVER expected this from a publication I respect SO much and have read since I was a child. Misrepresentation and misidentification is a constant problem if you are Muslim in America. And as much as I work to fight this, there are moments like this where I feel defeated.
A post shared by Noor Tagouri نور التاجوري (@noor) on Jan 17, 2019 at 5:35am PST
Tagouri goes on to point out that misidentification is “a constant problem if you are Muslim in America,” and is among the obstacles that she continually faces through her work as an activist. With this latest incident, she wrote that she feels “defeated.” Still, she continued the conversation on Twitter in order to educate people on what had just taken place. Tagouri even posted an email she sent to Vogue to ensure that there wouldn’t be an issue with mislabeling.
I feel sick. This isn’t the first time this has happened – but this is print. it’s Vogue.
I was so excited to share this w my younger sisters — bc 13 year old me would have been ECSTATIC to see someone who looked like her in Vogue.
Only to realize there is so much work to do.
— Noor (@NTagouri) January 17, 2019
— Noor (@NTagouri) January 17, 2019
Soon thereafter, Vogue issued an apology on its social media channels.
“We were thrilled at the chance to photograph Tagouri and shine a light on the important work she does, and to have misidentified her is a painful misstep,” the post reads. “We also understand that there is a larger issue of misidentification in media—especially among nonwhite subjects.”
In the February issue of Vogue the writer and activist Noor Tagouri (@noor) was misidentified in a caption as “actor, director, and model Noor Bukhari.” We are sincerely sorry for the mistake. We were thrilled at the chance to photograph Tagouri and shine a light on the important work she does, and to have misidentified her is a painful misstep. We also understand that there is a larger issue of misidentification in media—especially among nonwhite subjects. We will try to be more thoughtful and careful in our work going forward, and we apologize for any embarrassment this has caused Tagouri and Bukhari.
A post shared by Vogue (@voguemagazine) on Jan 17, 2019 at 9:10am PST
People responded to the incident on Twitter, sharing their own disappointment in the publication. However, one pointed out that the incident has since allowed Tagouri to do exactly what her job entails, which is to speak out against misrepresentation.
In my opinion, this is her biggest campaign for social change yet. Unfortunately though fortunately, @NTagouri is doing her job by very nature of being a product of this incident.
— riddsta (@riddsta) January 17, 2019
Tagouri reposted the magazine’s apology and noted that people should “teach, grow, build” from these mistakes.
“It isn’t always easy,” she wrote, “but this is why we keep fighting.”
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