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British Vogue Unveils Historic February Cover Featuring Nine African Models

British Vogue Unveils Historic February Cover Featuring Nine African Models


British Vogue unveiled its new February 2022 cover featuring an all-African troupe of models with illustrious African heritage from Senegal to Rwanda, Sudan and Nigeria. Adut Akech, Anok Yai, Majesty Amare, Amar Akway, Janet Jumbo, Maty Fall, Nyagua Ruea, Abény Nhial and Akon Changkou all posed for the cover of the fashion magazine.

The stunning image of the women comes as a new push within the industry to include more models from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. Shot by Rafael Pavarotti, the photographer says the illustrious cover is meant to capture the group of women as all-time fixtures in the fashion industry.

Here are some of the things revealed in and about the historic February 2022 cover issue…

Edward Enninful on the inspiration behind the cover:

Photo: Rafael Pavarotti for British Vogue

British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful, full of rich melanin, explained his inspiration for creating such groundbreaking moments for the beauty of blacks and Africans. “I’ve seen all these incredible models from all over Africa. They’re so cheerful and clever. These girls are redefining what it’s to be a fashion model,” Enninful said. British Vogue February 2022

“As you know, fashion tends to follow the waves. There were waves in Brazil. There were waves in the Netherlands, Russia, East Europe … and in the last decade, black models stand out. But I’m happy to finally give more space to the beauty of Africa.”

Adut Akech on the historic cover:

Photo: Rafael Pavarotti for British Vogue

“When I first started modelling internationally…I would literally be the only Black, dark-skinned girl in the show. There were no Sudanese models, no African models,” remarked Akech to British Vogue. “Now,” she added, “I go to a show and there are girls from my country, girls from Africa who look like me. So yes, there has been a huge change. It has gone from me being the only one at a show to 15 or 20 of us. I’m just so happy that we are finally at this place. I was tired of always feeling out of place and feeling like an outcast.”

Anok Yai on her experience in the industry and finding friendship with other Black women models:

Photo: Rafael Pavarotti for British Vogue

“In the beginning, I felt really isolated,” Yai recalled. “I got thrown into the modeling industry very quickly and I kind of had to navigate it on my own. I also have social anxiety, and so I struggled a lot with connecting with people. Backstage, there would maybe be one other Black girl, but now my tribe is backstage. I can speak my own language to my friends. They are basically like my family.”British Vogue February 2022

Makeup artist Ammy Drammeh on her inspiration behind the makeup:

Photo: Rafael Pavarotti for British Vogue

Ammy Drammeh told the magazine she was inspired by a photo of the iconic Grace Jones for the look. “African women and their elegance is at the centre of this beauty look,” Drammeh said. “That elegance is innate, you know? They’re not trying, they just are.” 

She added that she didn’t want to do too much on their faces, just “highlight their natural beauty, while creating something chic and elegant — I wanted to stay away from all the clichés, like creating a tribal look on an African story… I didn’t want to go there.”


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