Meghan Markle has a new title to add to her résumé: the Duchess of Sussex is officially a guest editor of British Vogue. For the latest edition, she, along with editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, enlisted the help of German photographer Peter Lindbergh to fulfill a very specific and amazing vision for the September issue. In fact, Markle had specific instructions for the British Vogue issue she worked on and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they were all about embracing each subject's natural beauty.
Enninful revealed in a new Vogue article that Lindbergh is all about "natural" looks, which is what Markle was going for with her issue, titled "Forces for Change." "I hate retouching, I hate make-up. I always say, 'Take the make-up off!'" 74-year-old Lindbergh told Vogue. "The number of beautiful women who have asked me to lengthen their legs or move their eyes further apart… You would not believe. It’s a culture of madness."
Enninful touted Lindbergh's ability to spot "beauty in real people, in real situations," noting that he and the Duchess of Sussex "had exactly the same idea at exactly the same time."
On the day of the shoot, Lindbergh and Markle had a phone call, during which she revealed her hopes for the photos, according to Vogue. As Lindbergh told the magazine:
My instructions from the Duchess were clear: "I want to see freckles!" Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles.
Markle's guest edited issued for Vogue featured "a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness," according a statement released on Instagram. Among the 15 cover women Markle chose to feature, there's 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, activist and actress Jane Fonda, actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil, as well as LGBTQ right activist and Orange Is The New Black star Laverne Cox. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is also included in the collective as well as mental health advocate Adwoa Aboah and voting activist and actress Yara Shahidi.
This isn't the first time Markle and Lindbergh have worked together; according to People, he also served as the photographer for her 2016 Vanity Fair cover story, which marked the first time she spoke about her relationship with her now-husband Prince Harry. In the accompanying photos for the Vanity Fair article, Markle's own freckles were on full display.
Markle has long been a fan of natural looks. In 2017, for instance, she admitted to Allure that she'd grown frustrated with magazines photoshopping her skin and removing her freckles. "To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot," the Duchess of Sussex told Allure a few years back. "For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: 'A face without freckles is a night without stars.'"
Markle also sported such a look to her wedding in May 2018, as her makeup artist, Daniel Martin, told InStyle. Both she and Prince Harry wanted to keep the makeup situation minimal, according to InStyle, noting that the Duke of Sussex wanted his bride's freckles visible when they said their "I Dos." And as Martin told InStyle, Prince Harry was grateful for the outcome and made that known to Martin in the most adorable way on his wedding day. "After the ceremony, Harry kept saying thank you. He was thanking me for making her look like herself," Martin recalled in an interview with InStyle.
Markle's collective for Vogue is a huge and beautiful step in the right direction for major magazines. Many have already taken a stand against photoshopping, but hopefully Markle's work on the new issue of British Vogue inspires others to follow suit. Freckles are beautiful and should be embraced, not airbrushed away.