Meghan Markle guest-edited the upcoming September issue of British Vogue, and while she reportedly refused to appear on the cover for fear of drawing attention away from others, the cover features 15 women who are "raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness," and there's a mirror so readers can include themselves in the 16th slot.
Inside, readers will find an exclusive chat between The Duchess and former First Lady Michelle Obama, a conversation between the Duke of Sussex and Dr. Jane Goodall, plus pieces by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others.
Markle shared an image of the cover on the Instagram account she and husband Prince Harry share, writing: "Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying ‘Yes!' - and to Vogue's editor Edward Enniful, thank you for this wonderful opportunity."
BEHIND THE SCENES
In a statement, Meghan said her goal was 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 women featured include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jacinda Ardern, Laverne Cox, Jamil, Jane Fonda and many more.
Meghan reportedly personally asked the FLOTUS to take part in her "secret project" over a lunch of chicken tacos while she was still pregnant with her son, Archie.
The Duchess called Obama's responses a "thoughtful, reflective and beautifully curated narrative – a gentle reminder not of how but of why she has become such a globally respected public figure."
Obama gave the Duchess food for thought regarding motherhood. "Being a mother has been a masterclass in letting go," Obama wrote in response to Meghan's question about what motherhood has taught her. "Try as we might, there's only so much we can control. And, boy, have I tried — especially at first. As mothers, we just don't want anything or anyone to hurt our babies. But life has other plans. Bruised knees, bumpy roads and broken hearts are part of the deal."
"Motherhood has taught me that, most of the time, my job is to give them the space to explore and develop into the people they want to be. Not who I want them to be or who I wish I was at that age, but who they are, deep inside," she said. "Motherhood has also taught me that my job is not to bulldoze a path for them in an effort to eliminate all possible adversity. But instead, I need to be a safe and consistent place for them to land when they inevitably fail; and to show them, again and again, how to get up on their own."
Vogue UK's editor is thrilled with the overall look of the mag and her choices.
"As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege," he wrote.
"From the very beginning, we talked about the cover — whether she would be on it or not. In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a "boastful" thing to do for this particular project. She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires."
As with anything involving Meghan, there has been a bit of a backlash. The most serious criticism came from Samantha Brett and Steph Adams, who wrote a book she wrote an essay for, dubbed The Game Changers. The cover also features a grid, and Brett is accusing her of "ripping off" their visual concept. She tells The Daily Mail: "It's obviously very flattering, she obviously likes our concept! I love Meghan and am a huge fan, but if what people are alerting us to is true, then it's extremely disappointing."