In the world of fashion publishing, there's no bigger month than September, when Vogue releases its biggest issue of the year. And 2019's edition across the pond aims to offer something is a little different. With the Duchess of Sussex serving as guest editor, the issue is sure to be very special indeed, but the blank space on Meghan Markle’s British Vogue issue is prompting readers to look inward, rather than just focus on the pretty pages.
The blank space is on the cover of the coveted September issue and is nestled amidst images of 15 women who Markle believes break barriers, according to Hello! Magazine. The issue is titled “Forces for Change,” and Markle wants readers to examine their own ability to enact change in their sphere of influence, so she included a small mirror in the 16th space.
The Instagram account for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released an image of the cover on Monday and explained: “The sixteenth space on the over, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective.”
Markle also released a statement explaining her role in the issue and her hopes for the way readers will receive it, according to People sharing that the "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," Markle said of the issue, according to The Guardian. "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."
According to Entertainment Tonight, the women Markle chose to grace the cover are a diverse representation of activism, including actresses Laverne Cox, Salma Hayek, Jane Fonda, Yara Shahidi, Jameela Jamil, and Gemma Chan. Models Adut Akech and Christy Turlington are also featured in the issue, as well as author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, advocate Sinead Burke, boxer Ramla Ali, dancer Francesca Hayward, and climate change activist Greta Thunberg. And inside the issue are interviews with leaders like Michelle Obama and Jane Goodall, according to Parade.
Markle wanted to keep things as natural as possible for the look of the cover, according to photographer Peter Lindberg. In fact, he told Vogue his "instructions from the Duchess were clear: ‘I want to see freckles!’ Well that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles."
Of course nobody would have been disappointed if the duchess herself had shown up on the cover — she's inspiring and a devoted activist, after all — but that’s just not her style. According to The Washington Post, Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said that option was part of the early conversations he had with Markle about her guest stint, but "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."
The Duchess of Sussex has brought a unique and beautiful concept to life here, indeed. And when Markle's Vogue issue officially hits newsstands, be sure to look for a glimpse of yourself as part of this collective, as she intended.