Meghan Markle has guest edited the September Issue of British Vogue, choosing to celebrate 15 women who are “trailblazing change-makers, united by their fearlessness in breaking barriers”.
The Duchess, who has been working on the project for the past seven months with editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, said she hopes readers feel as inspired by the magazine as she does.
The cover features a mix of campaigning actors, models, a dancer, an author and a prime minister. Here’s what you need to know about them.
The 27-year-old British model is no stranger to a front cover – she starred on the first British Vogue of Enningful’s tenure – but she is also a mental health campaigner through her Gurls Talk platform. Aboah has collaborated with the makers of Barbie, and a doll in her likeness was released for International Women’s Day. She has also supported campaigns calling for an end to period poverty.
The South Sudanese model was born during a journey to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya before emigrating to Australia with her family. She has appeared in campaigns for Fendi, Moschino, Saint Laurent, Valentino, Versace. The 19-year-old works with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to promote causes that support refugees around the world.
Born in Mogadishu some time in the early 1990s, the Somali boxer, who moved to the UK as a refugee, does not know exactly how old she is, according to the Guardian. She started boxing as a teenager as is now the current African Zone Featherweight Champion, competing for Somalia in the Women’s World Championships in 2018.
New Zealand’s prime minister became the second elected leader in modern history to give birth while in office, after having her daughter Neve in June 2018. Ardern, 39, was praised internationally for her compassionate handling of the 15 March terror attack in Christchurch, where a gunman killed 51 worshippers at two mosques.
In a video for the Vogue cover, she said: “One change I’ve noticed over the course of my career, is just how polarised the world is now. I do think there is a solution to that though, and that’s ultimately us coming back to the humanity that we all share.”
An academic and diversity advocate, the 29-year-old was named as part of The Vogue 25 – the first Vogue guide to Britain’s 25 most influential and aspirational figures in 2018. She has more than 24,000 Twitter followers, almost 90,000 Instagram followers and hosts a podcast called As Me With Sinéad.
The actor and campaigner, 36, starred in box office hit Crazy Rich Asians, and is also known for her role in Channel 4 drama Humans. She said she hoped the success of Crazy Rich Asians, which was the first Hollywood film in 25 years with a majority Asian-American cast, would counteract some of the defences used after a number of “white washing” casting controversies. This year, she starred as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel.
The 47-year-old trans actor and LGBTQ advocate rose to prominence with her role on Orange Is The New Black. With a whopping 3.7 million followers on Instagram, her bio proudly states “#TransIsBeautiful”. You may also recognise Cox as one of the faces of Beyonce’s clothing line Ivy Park.
The 81-year-old actor is known for her work as a writer, political activist, fitness guru and fashion model, and has seen a career resurgence after starring in Netflix’s original series Grace And Frankie. The Oscar-winning star is an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement and co-founded the Women’s Media Center, an organisation providing advocacy for women in the media.
Salma Hayek Pinault
A Hollywood star and women’s rights advocate, Salma Hayek Pinault, 52, has had leading roles in films including Frida, a biography of artist Frida Kahlo. In December 2017, she alleged years of harassment from producer Harvey Weinstein, whom she called a “monster”. Weinstein denied the allegations.
The Good Place actor and advocate for body positivity rose to fame as a presenter on T4. She was among many stars to speak out after Alabama voted for a near-total ban on abortion, calling it “truly disgusting”. Jamil, 33, has also spoken out about airbrushing in the media and has criticised stars for promoting diet products online.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The 41-year-old award-winning novelist was born in Nigeria. She is the author of Purple Hibiscus, Half Of A Yellow Sun, and Americanah, and the essay, We Should All Be Feminists. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages and she interviewed Michelle Obama on stage at Southbank Centre.
Kenyan-born, British-raised Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward, 27, has performed a number of major roles for the company, including Clara in The Nutcracker, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and the title role in Giselle. She is also among the cast of the new Cats film.
The 19-year-old actor and activist founded Eighteen x 18, a creative platform to engage her generation to “speak our truth, get active and vote!” She has almost 400,000 followers on Twitter.
A student activist from Sweden, 16-year-old Thunberg was the schoolgirl behind a global wave of youth climate change protests. The teenager won worldwide fame after beginning a solitary School Strike For The Climate protest outside the Swedish Parliament in August 2018. She inspired school walkouts around the world, with hundreds of thousands of young people in countries including the UK joining the Global Climate Strike in March. She also lends her voice for a climate change message on the latest track by the 1975.
Christy Turlington Burns
The 50-year-old supermodel is the founder of Every Mother Counts. The charity says almost all maternal deaths can be prevented by ensuring that women have access to quality maternity care. The model said she founded the charity “to raise awareness about a global tragedy that many women face — but not enough are aware of until it is too late”.