“loving my illusions of fate arc...but why is the cover white when jessmin isn't?”
This…is an interesting question.
My publisher was very aware of Jessamin being a POC character. The model they used is Polynesian (and probably the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, but that’s neither here nor there), and they were very careful with the coloring because we didn’t want her washed out. But the lighting is really intense around the teacup, so I can see how her skin tone could be confused.
So, I don’t really have an answer for you, other than that my publisher definitely made no attempt to whitewash Jessamin or her story. The visual emphasis is supposed to be the teacup, thus the bright lighting focusing on that portion of the cover.
This is SUCH an interesting question, and it illustrates something I’ve been thinking about for awhile: the idea (that arises in many discussions of book covers, particularly) that representations of people of color must appear a certain way in order to be read as people of color. The fact, is not all people of color are read as people of color in the real world — sometimes people of color pass as white*, but that doesn’t mean they are white. Basically, being a “person of color” doesn’t necessarily mean your skin is noticeably darker than “white” (and what is “white” anyway?), and it’s important to remember that.
Racial and ethnic identity is more than skin deep. It’s about culture, lived experience, history. It’s complicated, and often impossible to express in a flat, two-dimensional image.
* Edited to add: Sometimes a person passes as white only to certain other people. Whether you recognize someone as [insert ethnic identity] often depends on your own lived experience and ethnic identity. E.g., Chinese people often notice that I am not 100% Chinese (I’m 1/4 white), but I’ve never had a white person notice that (or, at least, tell me they noticed).