Kamala Harris's 'first world problems': Team Biden snubbed team VP after Vogue sneaker blow-up

VP's office reportedly made a fuss after magazine decided to go with the picture of her in sneakers, told by team Biden 'these are first-world problems'

                            Kamala Harris's 'first world problems': Team Biden snubbed team VP after Vogue sneaker blow-up
The covers of Vogue's February 2021 issues for its physical (left) and digital (right) editions. (Tyler Mitchell/Vogue via Twitter)

On January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris made history by becoming the US' first-ever female and non-White Vice President. It was a truly historic moment that was widely talked about in the days and weeks running up to the inauguration. To mark the moment, Vogue Magazine decided to feature Harris on its cover, a moment we now know caused quite a bit of controversy. Apparently, the VP's office was not very happy with the picture Vogue chose.

This isn't the first scandal the particular issue has been tied to. On the inauguration day, we reported that the magazine was reprinting the physical issue, with a copy of the cover used for the digital one, after accusations the cover image was "washed out". Others slammed Vogue's editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, as it was leaked that the photo used was not the one Harris' team expected would be used. 


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We've heard rumors that Harris wasn't happy with the photo Wintour selected, but a new report indicates that it isn't a rumor, but reality. Reportedly, team Harris tried to get the photo changed, but Wintour refused. Back in 2020, Wintour clashed with then-First Lady Melania Trump after hinting she won't feature her on the Vogue cover, so it seems like Harris and Trump have something in common.

The final image used by Vogue for its February 2021 issue featuring Vice President Kamala Harris. (Tyler Mitchell/Vogue via Twitter)

Harris' 'first-world problems'

For its February 2021 issue, Vogue launched two different covers. The physical edition featured Harris in black skinny pants, a white top with a black jacket, and Converse shoes. The digital edition was a close-up of Harris in a blue suit. According to The Daily Mail, Harris specifically requested the latter be used, and only found out that it wasn't going to be after the cover leaked online. 

The physical cover was seen as more casual, whereas Harris wanted to appear more "stately looking", and so she was apparently furious at Wintour's decision. "Harris was wounded. She felt belittled by the magazine, asking aides: Would Vogue depict another world leader this way?", wrote Jonathan Martin and Alex Burn about the controversy in their book 'This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future'.

The digital edition of Vogue's February 2021 issue featured this image of Kamala Harris. (Tyler Mitchell/Vogue via Twitter)


Harris' incoming press secretary Symone Sanders went straight to Wintour to complain, but the famed editor defended her decision saying it made the VP look "relatable". Incoming chief of staff Tina Flournoy then reached out to Biden's team to see if they could intervene but was shot down. "The Biden adviser told Flournoy that this was not the time to be going to war with over a comparatively trivial aesthetic issue. Tina, the adviser said, 'these are first-world problems'," wrote Martin and Burn. 

The reveal is just one of the many Martin and Burn make in their book, chronicling the struggles Harris has faced in the White House. It also gives credence to the allegations of a rift between the VP and President, noting that the two have a relationship that is "friendly but not close." It doesn't appear as if Biden personally shot down Harris' request over the Vogue cover, but certainly team Biden had more pressing issues at hand. Eventually, though, it seems like Harris got her way, with Vogue reprinting the issue with the cover of her in the blue suit.

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