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Meghan Markle has picked some pretty amazing women to grace the cover of Vogue in her role as guest editor of the magazine.
The Duchess of Sussex picked famous and non-famous faces as part of the 15 Forces for Change.
Her Royal Highness’s Vogue cover features the likes of model Adwoa Aboah, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, actresses Gemma Chan, Laverne Cox, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek Pinault and more.
Some of the lesser-known names include Ramla Ali, Sinéad Burke, Adut Akech and Francesca Hayward.
Ramla is a Somali-born boxer who has won the Elite National Championships, the English Title Series and the Great British Elite Championships. She has an eye on becoming the first boxer to represent Somalia at the 2020 Olympics.
Sinéad Burke is an Irish writer, academic, influencer, activist and broadcaster. She became the first person with achondroplasia (dwarfism) to be invited to the Met Gala this year, where she wore Gucci.
It’s not her first magazine shoot either as she appeared on the cover for The Business Of Fashion alongside Kim Kardashian along with an interview as part of The Age of Influence series.
Speaking to Vogue, Sinéad said: ‘We need to be constantly 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.’
Model Adut Akech Bior is one of the younger women featured in the shoot.
The South Sudanese-Australian 20-year-old was chosen as Model of the Year by Models.com.
Francesca Hayward is a Royal Ballet principal dancer. She told Vogue: ‘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.’
It’s no surprise that Meghan chose these women to be part of the 15 Forces for Change as they have overcome many hardships.
Ramla, for example, doesn’t know exactly how old she is, only that she was born in the 90s, after war ravaged the country where her older brother was killed.
Adut left Kenya where she was raised and moved to Australia as a South Sudanese refugee.
Meghan becomes guest-editor of the fashion bible’s September edition – the biggest and most important one of the year.
But she is not the first Royal to do so.
Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton edited the Huffington Post for a day in 2016. Similarly, Prince Harry took control of Radio 4’s Today programme in 2017 followed by Prince Charles editing Country Life in 2018.
The Duchess, for her first time at the helm, felt passionate about having an all-female cover and called on the likes of climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg and UK actress Jameela Jamil.
But the seemingly blank 16th spot on the cover is actually a mirror, which aims to include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to bring about change.
Photographer Peter Lindbergh took the portraits for the Vogue cover after having worked with the Duchess in 2016 for Harper’s Bazaar.
Ahead of the shoot, Meghan is said to have called Peter with firm directions to keep the shoot natural, saying: ‘I want to see freckles’.
Meghan’s decision to include such trailblazers has been commended by many of those who have seen the cover after its release today.
‘Big moment for Somali women in sport,’ one wrote on Twitter, while another said: ‘I ain’t never seen this many beautiful and successful women of colour in one Vogue magazine cover.’
We expect to see more from these pioneering women in the future.