Out today is the September issue of British Vogue, a historic moment in the nearly century-long history of the publication. It’s historic because the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has taken up the mantle of being the first ever guest editor for the magazine. The issue, touting the headline “Forces for Change,” features 15 women who embody progress and vitality in the modern age.
“This issue is about the power of the collective. In identifying our personal strengths, it is anchors in red in the knowledge that we are even stronger together,” writes Markle in the issue’s Editor’s Letter. “You will find that spirit of inclusivity on the cover: diverse portraiture of women of varying ages, [color], creed, nationality and life experience, and of unquestionable inspiration.” Her hand-picked squad of icons include outspoken activists, refugees, leaders, performers, and high-profile figures who have used their platforms to advocate for progress: Adwoa Aboah; refugee Adut Akech; Ramla Ali; Jacinda Arden; Sinead Burke; Gemma Chan; Laverne Cox; Jane Fonda; Salma Hayek Pinault; Francesca Hayward; Jameela Jamil; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Yara Shahidi; Greta Thunberg; and Christy Turlington Burns.
It’s arguably a little cheesy, but the cover also features a mirror as a placeholder for the 16th force for change: you, the reader. A cynical writer for The Daily Beast recalled a moment from The Big Lebowski: “Didn’t Meghan ever see The Big Lebowski, where The Dude looks into a mirror bordered with Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” livery to emphasize his startling lack of achievement?” Touché, but the duchess has also been receiving much harsher flak from her critics over virtue signaling, humble-bragging, omitting the Queen, and even been accused of basically lifting the concept for this issue of Vogue UK from a book called “The Game Changers” in which she was herself included as one of 15 inspirational women.
After reading through the undue hate being aimed at the duchess, it is refreshing to hear Hayek’s take on her experience connecting with Markle through this production. “It was kind of interesting for me that she noticed me in this new wave of excitement about change. She really knew what she was talking about,” Hayek told CNN. Markle included Hayek in “Forces for Change” to honor the humanitarian work that the Veracruz-born icon has done for survivors of domestic violence, for women’s health, and for immigrants’ rights. Collaborating with Markle, she shared earlier this week, was a complete surprise for her but a wonderful experience. “She introduced herself and was very kind and loving and easygoing,” she said. “I think we had a connection before we even talked to each other. The shock is that this person had been watching me and I had no idea. It’s really beautiful and I really do think that we have a special connection.”