The September issue is usually the year’s most read and for this particular issue, Meghan Markle worked for about seven months with British Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to curate and edit. This makes Meghan the first guest editor of the September issue in the magazine’s 103-year history.
The issue features 15 women The Duchess of Sussex considers as “Forces for Change”. According to Enninful, the women featured are those who have made a “laudable impact in recent times, and who are set to reshape society in radical and positive ways in the future”.
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, South Sudanese model Adut Akech, and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden are some of the women featured in this special issue.
Other women featured in this issue are teenage climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg, Somali boxer Ramla Ali, actress/women’s rights advocate Salma Hayek Pinault. Francesca Hayward, a mixed-race ballet dancer born in Kenya to a Kenyan mother and an English father, Adwoa Aboah, a mixed-race fashion model born to British nobility and a Ghanaian father, diversity advocate and lecturer Sinead Burke, positivity advocate Jameela Jamil, actress Gemma Chan, actress Jane Fonda, supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, transgender actress Laverne Cox and teen actress Yara Shahidi, are also featured on the cover.
A statement released on the joint Instagram account of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, reads in part:
For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective.
They have named the issue: ‘Forces for Change’.
For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective.
In Meghan Markle’s own words, “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 Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.”
The issue will also feature grassroots organisations and trailblazers “working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better”, as well as an exclusive interview between Meghan Markle and former US first lady Michelle Obama.
Enninful described the Issue as the magazine’s most important edition of 2019.
He said: “To have the country’s most influential beacon of change guest edit British Vogue at this time has been an honor, a pleasure and a wonderful surprise. 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.”
This is the first time a working royal has taken up a project of this stand and magnitude, and it is understood that Meghan Markle approached Enninful directly about contributing to and coediting the issue. She began working in January. She worked on the flat plan, selected and commissioned the writers and photographers, and generally thought and acted like an editor.
Enninful said from the 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.”