British Vogue has earned praise for featuring nine diverse faces on its May cover. Edward Enninful’s casting has sparked much conversation as it represents a variety of races, includes a model wearing a hijab and shows some (albeit, not a lot of) body positivity.
Unlike former Vogue editor-in-chief of Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, who only showcased 9 ‘diverse’ faces out of 306 cover models and went 12 years without showcasing a black model, this magazine cover is really a big deal for Vogue and embodies much of what many have hoped Enninful’s reign would bring to the “fashion bible”.
In his editor’s letter, Enninful writes “When I say diversity, I want to be clear that it is never just about black and white for me. It’s about diversity across the board – whether that’s race, size, socio-economic background, religion, sexuality. That’s what I want to celebrate with this cover.”
So with that in mind, we wanted to find out more about who his chosen nine are. Here’s an introduction to the models you should probably keep your eyes on.
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From left to right on the cover:
The 19-year-old Italian model has walked for classic fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior, Fendi and Valentino for Paris Couture. She has also studied psychology and likes to offer a supportive ear to her fellow models.
“I learned how to understand people’s feelings, how to get along with people and relate to people,” she told Elle. “I’ve always had it inside—this ability to read people, how to get into someone else’s head and help them with their problems. And I love when people trust me with their feelings and I can get into any kind of dialogue with them about their inner stuff.”
This 21-year-old American Somali model has been popping up constantly in our fashion feeds since 2017. After being born in a refugee camp in Kenya, Aden moved to the US when she was six and was later voted by her classmates as prom and homecoming queen.
Aden went on to be the first hijab wearing model for Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist as well as the first hijab-wearing models to be signed onto major agencies and walk high fashion shows.She has graced the cover of Allure magazine - the first hijab-wearing model to ever do so - and is the face of Nike sport.
Aden strongly believes there’s still a great need for more diversity in fashion. “It just makes it more tasteful and appealing when it’s not the same girl over and over again,” she previously told HuffPost UK.
“Everybody comes from different cultures and races. There’s something beautiful when it’s a blended runway.”
This Sudanese Australian model made her debut at Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2017 show and she then went on to close Laurent’s next two shows.
Akech was born in the same refugee camp in Kenya as Halima Aden. She moved away with her mother to Adelaide, Australia, when she was seven years old. Akech got advice from none-other-than Naomi Campbell when they stareed together in a Pirelli calendar shoot. “She’s just been giving me advice about the industry, how I should always be myself no matter what, and do things that I feel comfortable doing and I should never do something that I don’t feel I have to do,” Akech told Yahoo.
This Croatian model who goes by just the one name has made a mark for herself thanks to her strong features. Debuting at the Givenchy show and being a part of Miu Miu’s lookbook with Taylor Hill, has put her on the map.
The face of Fenty Beauty, a muse for Pat McGrath and a Glossier girl, Elsesser has also gathered a major following online through her down to earth personality and her vocal campaigning for causes she believes in including the Black Lives Matter movement.
This 26-year-old is the first Indian model to walk a Balenciaga runway. Her advice for younger models, as cited in Harpers Bazaar, seems apt for a new generation of faces: “You have got nothing to prove.”
Yoon Young Bae
Hailed as model to watch by W Magazine and American Vogue, Yoon Young Bae is originally from Daegu, South Korea. She debuted as a ‘Prada girl’ working the Men’s autumn / winter 2016 campaign and catwalk.
“A Yorkshire gal” is how English rose, Fran Summers likes to describe herself and her route to Vogue cover star started at a beauty counter.
“It all began in MAC in Westfield, where most fairytales start,” she told Vogue. “I was chatting with one of the makeup artists called Naima, and she asked if I had ever thought about modelling. I said no, and she insisted on taking me in to see some agencies herself on her next day off. The only one she had heard of was Storm so she said we’d start there and see how things went. I walked in and they offered me a contract on the spot!”
Being bold on the cover of I-D Magazine’s ‘Futurewise’ issue and The New York Time’s style magazine twice, this American model previously spoke to The Cut about diversity: “If your clothes look good on everybody and if you’re that confident about your clothes, then you should put them on everybody,” she said.