British Vogue is breaking with their usual cover stars – a space normally reserved for ‘A’ list celebrities and supermodels, and instead have devoted their iconic cover for the July 2020 issue to honouring key workers who have been working tirelessly during lockdown.
Gracing the front cover is Anisa Omar, 21 who works as a Supermarket Assistant at Waitrose King’s Cross. Normally serving customers on the checkouts or replenishing the shelves with much needed essentials, Anisa was snapped in her uniform during a regular shift.
She is one of three frontline workers to appear on a special gatefold cover. The three different versions will feature Anisa and the other two cover stars – London Overground train driver Narguis Horsford, and midwife Rachel Millar – who will each take a turn on the front, and inside the gatefold of the other copies.
Renowned fashion photographer Jamie Hawkesworth, who has previously shot models including Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid, spent two weeks photographing frontline workers for the historic edition, which includes portraits of NHS staff, delivery drivers, teachers and MPs across 20 pages in the issue, available from Friday 5th June. Jamie said “I didn’t really want to photograph people in action, in the motion of doing their job; I thought it was really important to give them a moment away. It was in the store, so there’s a bit of context, but I like that everybody had their own moment”.
The decision to use non-celebrities for the cover was taken by editor-in-chief Edward Enninful OBE: “This moment in history has seen society shift its attention on to some of the people who are not usually afforded the spotlight,” he explains. “I am proud that British Vogue’s July issue is able to provide a special moment of thanks to the NHS and everyone on the frontline saving lives every day. Our trio of cover stars represent the millions of people in the UK who, at the height of the pandemic, in the face of dangers large and small, put on their uniforms and work clothes and went to help people”.
Anisa describes the whole experience as “Crazy – but so nice to be appreciated in this way! It’s nice being a key worker. My job was not something that was that big of a deal before. But now it’s like we’re important. We have to be here, regardless of what’s happening in the world. It’s more than just a job now.”
“Being on the cover of Vogue is not something I ever imagined I would do, but I feel so lucky to be a part of this experience. I live in a house of key workers – both my brother and sister work in different Waitrose branches so we will be excited to see the magazine on sale in our shops when we arrive at work”!
Read the full feature in the July issue of British Vogue, available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 5th June.