It's tricky getting Vogue Thailand chief editor Kullawit "Ford" Laosuksir on the phone at the moment because everybody's calling him to ask what skin-whitening formula supermodel Naomi Campbell uses. As a proud African-American she uses no such thing, of
It’s left to Ford to explain “the real story” to caller after caller. But a member of the editorial staff assures us that Ford isn’t worried about the controversy the photo has sparked online. They live in the fashion world and not everyone understands fashion, was how it was put to us.
The first thing Ford points out is that the cover being replicated across the social media was Tyszka’s mock-up and not the official cover. “You can see the Vogue masthead is in white instead of our usual red,” he says. Magazines pay dozens of people, including the model, to look at their covers and turn thumbs or down before they commit to one for publication.
Ford insists that Vogue Thailand has no intention of changing Campbell’s skin colour. “We are Asians, but we know this kind of issue is very sensitive and we would definitely not do anything like that.” He personally witnessed the photo shoot in France in early July and says Campbell and her agent were pleased with Tyszka’s pastel pictures. “No one mentioned skin colour,” Ford says. Naomi was so happy with the smooth shoot and the photos that she mentioned during her interview she loves Thailand too.
Well, okay then, but why does she have blue eyes in the mock cover picture? She wears contact lenses, Ford reveals, “and how could I tell a supermodel to take them off?”
So the fashion bloggers didn’t have quite as much to harp about when the magazine hit the shelves yesterday and everything was tidily explained away on the Vogue Thailand Facebook page (and in private conversation with Ford). They settled for bitching about the makeup and lighting. Again, Ford is just rolling with it, pointing out that even Campbell’s “imperfect” nose has come in for a bashing, so to speak. “In this industry,” he says, “the critics question you when you do something bad and also when you do something good!”
The other boss at BU
Petch Osathanugrah is formally designated chairman of Bangkok University but declines to call himself the CEO. “The CEO is our rector, not me. I only give ideas,” he tells Thai Rath Online.
An art collector as well as a recording artist up until the early 2000s, Petch uses art as a management tool. “I think creatively. I don’t think like most businessmen, whose ultimate goal is money,” he says. No, he’s preparing to open a museum to display his collection of contemporary art. Not much profit in that – or is there? Petch would also love to write a book. “I read so much that I want to start one myself!
“These days I’m a man of two worlds. I’ve been working at the university for a decade, almost five years full-time. But I always make time to follow my passions.” Add to the list learning Japanese, but one thing that’s definitely not going on the list is politics. “It’s just a big headache and the one thing I definitely would never try.”