Vogue is celebrating a new generation in fashion with eight incredible cover stars.
Anok Yai, Ariel Nicholson, Bella Hadid, Lola Leon, who is Madonna’s daughter, Sherry Shi, Yumi Nu, Kaia Gerber and Precious Lee are changing the modelling industry and challenging definitions of beauty, as stated by the magazine, and the group look stunning on the September cover, which is centred around the idea of “New Beginnings”.
Lee says, “I always knew I’d be on the cover of the September issue. I won’t say I never doubted it would happen, but on a deeper level, I just knew.”
“This is so nuts,” Gerber adds, with the models dancing to a disco beat as the shoot gets underway amid the ongoing pandemic.
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Hadid, now 24, talks about being 17 when she first started modelling, telling the mag: “It’s like there were two Bellas—me, this person in the process of figuring out who she was, and ‘Bella Hadid’ the alter ego, who was, I dunno, a sexbot who goes out every night?
“I have insane social anxiety! Partying is not my thing, but I felt enormous pressure to project that image because I assumed that’s all people wanted from me. Now I don’t want to live in that box. I definitely feel like I’m allowed to speak.”
Chromat designer Becca McCharen-Tran speaks about “exploding beauty norms” in the issue, sharing: “I feel like fashion has gotten the message that casting models from diverse backgrounds is the absolute bare minimum.
“But what people are starting to wrap their heads around now is that ‘diversity’ isn’t the point—the point is respect; the point is dignity.”
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“There was never only one type of person who had that thing,” adds designer Victor Glemaud, “that magical talent to elevate the clothes they happen to be wearing. If you look at someone like Precious, you think—God, she always should have been a star. Why were we so stupidly fixated on who could fit the samples?”
Despite models, designers, casting directors and agents crediting social media with upending their businesses, model Yai insists: “People are dead wrong if they think modelling is as simple as standing in front of a camera.”
Yai, who was discovered when a shot of her at the 2017 Howard University homecoming celebration went viral, continues: “Like any art, it’s a form of expression—it’s like silent acting, really. I didn’t get where I am just because of Instagram.”