Meghan Markle has guest edited British Vogue’s September 2019 issue, placing ‘15 women she admires’ on the cover.
And the 16th image on the cover is a mirror to 'include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change’ - an idea envisioned by the Duchess.
According to the magazine's editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Meghan doesn’t feature on the cover as she believed it would be a 'boastful' thing for her to do.
Other figures on the cover include mental health campaigner and model Adwoa Aboah, transgender Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
The issue is the first time a September issue of British Vogue has been co-edited.
‘These last seven months have been a rewarding process, curating and collaborating with Edward Enninful, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, to take the year’s most-read fashion issue and steer its focus to the values, causes and people making impact in the world today,’ the Duchess told the magazine.
‘Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light. I hope readers feel as inspired as I do, by the ‘Forces for Change’ they’ll find within these pages.'
Who are the women on the cover of Vogue's September issue, chosen by Meghan Markle?
While launching her acting career in the US as she landed a role in The Good Place, Jamil also embarked on her campaign, I Weigh, promoting body positivity. She has spoken out against facing racial prejudice, has taken on celebrities promoting detox teas and is firmly against retouching photographs. 'My digital campaign against diet culture, I Weigh, has changed me, too – I smugly thought I would help all these people to recognise their worth, and they've ended up helping me,' she said to Vogue.
After experiencing her own struggles with mental health, supermodel Adwoa Aboah launched Gurls Talk, an online platform on which 'anyone and everyone can share their experiences in a safe, judgement-free space.' Speaking to Vogue, Aboah said 'Being an advocate has transformed my life. It's so cheesy to say, but I really feel like this is what I was meant to do.'
Jane Fonda has been a political activist since the 1960s, when she voiced her opposition to the Vietnam War and her support for the Civil Rights Movement in America. She continues to campaign for many different issues and has established a number of charitable organisations. Speaking to Vogue, she said 'Actors are like repeaters: we pick up signals from voices that have a hard time being heard and amplify them.'
Since catapulting to fame in Orange Is The New Black, Laverne Cox has used her platform to campaign for a number of issues around LGTBQ+ rights, particularly those relating to the trans community. The September issue of Vogue marks the very first cover featuring a trans woman, and Cox continues to fight for trans rights. Posting a picture of the cover to her Instagram page, Cox said: 'I am completely overwhelmed and overjoyed to share this cover. Being on the cover of Vogue magazine has been a dream of mine since I was a child. To get to share this cover with this group of women who inspire me, who are truly forces for change is deeply humbling.'
Gemma Chan is having a momentous couple of years. From her role in Crazy Rich Asians to her first Met Gala appearance, she has also been an outspoken campaigner for greater diversity within Hollywood, as well as the Time's Up movement. 'I would like to see a real increase in the diversity of people who are in a position to make decisions in the industry,' she said to Vogue.
Not only is Akech a campaigner for racial equality within the fashion industry, in which she works as a model, she has also used her own experiences as a refugee to fight for others. Born in war-torn South Sudan, she spent her first few years in a refugee camp in Kenya with her family before emigrating to Australia. 'I want to help people to understand that refugees are normal people, just like everybody else,' she said to Vogue.
Ali moved to England from Somalia as a refugee. She started boxing as a teenager and is now a national champion. While she identifies as both British and Somalian, she is the first person to represent Somalia at a major boxing event (the World Championships) and one of the first Muslim women to do enter a professional boxing ring. She also teaches self-defence to a group of Muslim women in South London. 'Boxing has always been perceived as a male-dominated sport. All the senior heads of federations are men. I would love to see more female heads. That is how there will be more positive changes for women,' she said to Vogue.
Jacinda Ardern is the world's youngest female head of government and is also only the second elected head of government in the world to give birth while in office. She is passionate about tackling child poverty, she has spoken out against China in support of the Uyghur Muslim community who are subject to human rights abuses and her government introduced stricter gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch shooting. To Vogue, she said: 'I'm proud we're now a nation where girls don't consider politics or political leadership extraordinary.'
At 16 years old, Burke started blogging to highlight how exclusive fashion was, after she couldn't find clothes to fit her properly. She has since developed a huge following, launched her own podcast and is renowned for her TED Talk on why fashion design should be more inclusive. 'We need to constantly be asking what voices are not in the world, which perspectives are not being considered, and make sure that change occurs with as much intersectionality as possible,' she said to Vogue.
Salma Hayek Pinault became one of the key voices speaking out against Harvey Weinstein when she wrote a piece for the New York Times entitled 'Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too'. In it, she describes years of harassment and accuses Weinstein of threatening to kill her. She is a powerful advocate for women, dedicating much of her charitable work to support anti-domestic violence charities. She said to Vogue: 'Twenty-five years ago, I started to become an activist for woman's rights. Nobody wanted to talk about it. One time I heard: "That's not a sexy cause." It was a huge struggle. Now, everybody's an activist.'
Hayward was born in Nairobi but moved to England when she was two, to live with her grandparents. She was admitted into the Royal Ballet School at 11 and is now a principal dancer at the company. She also stars in the upcoming film, Cats, for which Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a new song just for her character. 'I'm very proud of the colour of my skin and that I'm inspiring people from all backgrounds, but I think it will be great for the next mixed-race or black female Principal dancer that she doesn't have to be asked about that,' Hayward said to Vogue.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who has produced several novels, essays and non-fiction works. She has also given TED Talks on subjects including the under-representation of different cultures and feminism, the latter entitled We Should All Be Feminists. Speaking to Vogue, she said 'I long for more stories of women who are strong without being superheroes, who do not need to be extraordinary to be admirable.'
At just 19, Shahidi has built a successful acting career and established herself as a political activist. She founded Eighteen x 18, a platform to encourage young people to vote and she has also partnered with Young Women's Leadership Network of New York, which provides online mentorship to hep combat poverty through education. 'Even if you aren't necessarily academic, the way that we learn to engage with one another in school has everything to do with who we choose to relate to and who we care about,' she told Vogue.
At 15, Greta Thunberg started protesting outside the Swedish parliament about the urgent need to tackle climate change. She refused to go to school in order to raise awareness of the issue and has since become a climate change activist recognised all over the world. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by three members of the Norwegian parliament and she has graced the cover of Time magazine. To Vogue, Thunberg said: 'I'm here to change the way we look at the climate and ecological crisis, so that together we can put pressure on people in power to change things.'
She may be a world famous supermodel but Christy Turlington Burns is also a passionate humanitarian. She began working with the international humanitarian organization CARE in 2005 and has since become their advocate for maternal health. She also launched Every Mother Counts, a charity dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women all over the world. 'When you're working in the global health sector, oftentimes the hope when you start something is that you'll be out of business at some point and there won't be a need. But I know that the issue I'm working on – it's not a done deal,' she said.