Julia Roberts is People's most beautiful person — again.
The 49-year-old actress graced the annual issue's cover for a groundbreaking fifth time. Youth is valued and hoarded, so it's important for People to strive for age inclusion. Choosing a woman who's almost 50 is admirable.
However, Roberts is slender, white, and conventionally attractive. Her selection — for the fifth time, no less — reflects an overarching magazine industry that refuses to be inclusive in other ways that matter.
Since Michelle Pfeiffer earned the inaugural "most beautiful person" cover, 26 people have earned the title.
Three white men — Mel Gibson (1996), Tom Cruise (1997), and Leonardo DiCaprio (1998) — have been bestowed with the honor. No men of color have been chosen.
The "most beautiful person" has been a white woman 19 times.
Roberts accounts for five of them while Pfeiffer has graced the cover twice. Jennifer Aniston (2004 and 2016) has scored two covers. Drew Barrymore, Kate Hudson, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, and Sandra Bullock have also been dubbed "the most beautiful person."
Yet, women of color have only scored the honor four times.
Halle Berry became the first Black "most beautiful person" in 2003. Jennifer Lopez became the first — and only — Latina in 2011. Beyoncé followed her in 2012. Lupita Nyong'o landed the cover in 2014.
That's the problem: All of those women of color are deserving of the "most beautiful person" crown.
However, they're not the only Black and Latinx celebrities who should've been considered. For instance, Tracee Ellis Ross just earned her first Golden Globe for "Black-ish." Viola Davis won a best supporting actress Oscar. Taraji P. Henson is dominating primetime on "Empire."
What about Gabrielle Union, Alicia Keys, Serena Williams, and Kerry Washington?
The fact that Roberts has appeared on more issues than all women of color combined reinforces the presumption that whiteness and thinness automatically equate to ideal beauty.
It's time for People to realize that a narrow view of beauty is a disservice. Do better.