Wintour did an interview with The New York Times podcast, “Sway,” which was recorded prior to the release Harris’ cover. Host Kara Swisher read a statement from Wintour at the beginning of the episode where she opened up about the controversy.
“Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory,” Wintour said in the statement. “We want nothing but to celebrate Vice President-elect Harris’ amazing victory and the important moment this is in America’s history, and particularly for women of color all over the world.”
When an apparent leaked copy of the Vogue February 2021 cover appeared on social media over the weekend, it sparked criticism by some over the casual attire that the recently elected Vice President was wearing.
In the cover shot, Harris is wearing a black suit with her trademark Converse sneakers and standing in front of a pink and green background which was reportedly an homage to her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. Some critics online believed that the lighting wasn’t done well and didn’t like the way the Vice President-elect was styled.
Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris is our February cover star!
Making history was the first step. Now Harris has an even more monumental task: to help heal a fractured America—and lead it out of crisis. Read the full profile: https://t.co/W5BQPTH7AU pic.twitter.com/OCFvVqTlOk
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) January 10, 2021
Vogue confirmed that the cover was genuine by sharing the images and also released an additional digital cover that showed the 56-year-old politician wearing a powder blue Michael Kors suit behind a gold background.
The additional cover sparked further cause for question, as Harris’ team reportedly expected that the blue suit cover shot would grace the print Vogue edition. Multiple published reports claim that they expected the more casual photo to be used as a smaller image inside the story, but not be the focal point of the story.
Both the photos were taken by 26-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell, who is well known for his talent and for being the magazine’s first African American photographer to shoot a Vogue cover in the magazine’s more than 100-year history when he shot Beyoncé for the September 2018 issue.
— Tyler Mitchell (@Tyler_Mitchell_) January 10, 2021
A Vogue spokesperson released a statement to Access Hollywood that read about the Kamala cover, sharing that the magazine loved Tyler’s work.
“The team at Vogue loved the images Tyler Mitchell shot and felt the more informal image captured Vice President-elect Harris’s authentic, approachable nature–which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration,” the statement from Vogue began. “To respond to the seriousness of this moment in history, and the role she has to play leading our country forward, we’re celebrating both images of her as covers digitally.”
The Vogue cover story, which was written by Alexis Okeowo, followed Harris in Pennsylvania during the final days of campaigning on the Monday before Election Day.
She opened up about how she sees her role as VP to President-elect Joe Biden, telling the magazine, “[I] will always speak truth, always give him my opinion, which will be based on fact and knowledge and life experience, and do it in a way that allows him, when he makes a decision, to make it with full information about the impact—and he has asked me to do that.”
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