Earlier, I went off on the Duchess of Sussex’s unhinged critics, the people like Piers Morgan and Sarah Vine and basically the entire editorial board of the Daily Mail and The Sun. The parochial mindset, the xenophobia, the racism always JUMPS out whenever Meghan does anything. And as I said in that post, the hatred sucks all of the oxygen out of the room and it doesn’t even feel like there’s space to like and adore Meghan and everything she represents, and still take issue with one or two things about her. This whole British Vogue situation is a prime example of that – if the reaction to Meghan’s guest-editorship had been glowing and positive, there would have been room to say that actually, Meghan’s writing makes me cringe. But I can’t say that because I feel the need to defend her from a gang of racists and toxic a–holes.
So, British Vogue is hellbent on stepping on their own newscycle repeatedly, which is why they released two weeks’ worth of exclusive royal content in the space of about 24 hours. I don’t get that editorial decision, but sure. About 24 hours after the release of the guest-edited-by-Meghan cover and cover details, Vogue released Meghan’s editor’s letter (and this was about six hours after the Michelle Obama exclusive dropped). I’ve been sitting with Meghan’s editor’s letter for a moment, and let me tell you…if Goop and Pippa Tips had a love child, it would be Meghan’s flowery, cringeworthy writing style.
It was in early January, on a cold and blustery London day, that I sat down for a cup of tea with British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful. Though we have several mutual friends, our first encounter had been years in the making, the impetus for which was my asking him to support an organisation I strongly believe in called Smart Works.
What evolved over the next hour was a promising pow wow of two like-minded thinkers, who have much in common, including our love of writing. Over a steaming cup of mint tea, we teased through how one can shine light in a world filled with seemingly daily darkness. Lofty? Of course. Worth it? Without question.
Within hours of our meeting’s end, we were already texting one another – philosophising about how to communicate this shared understanding and the lens through which we see the world, how to pivot from a perspective of frustration to one of optimism. So I asked the question. Actually, I typed and deleted the question several times until I built up the courage to ask the question in question.
“Edward… instead of doing the cover, would you be open to me guest editing your September issue?”
(Mind you, I know how important the September issue is for the fashion industry. I realise the reach, and I see the opportunity to be a part of fashion’s push for something greater, kinder, more impactful. But I am also a little nervous to be boldly asking the editor-in-chief, whom I’d only just met, to take a chance on me.)
I sent the text.
The ellipsis… the “dot dot dot” that inspires the greatest practice of patience in this digital era.
And then it appeared, EE’s reply: “Yes! I would love for you to be my guest editor.”
Sitting on my sofa at home, two dogs nestled across me, I quietly celebrated when the words appeared on my screen.
She wanted to set the scene. I get that. She wanted to show us a glimpse into her life, and once she showed us that glimpse, she would redirect the interest to some issues she cares about. But good lord, this is some Lena Dunham-esque-level navel-gazing (the ellipsis line killed me). And it would have been so much better if she (gasp!) allowed a professional editor to work with her on the parts she wrote herself. But again, I feel like a sh-theel for mocking her writing style because the media has lined up to bully this poor woman for two years. It feels wrong to simply have some fun and roll my eyes at Meghan’s writing skills.
Oh, and this is another part which is getting wide coverage:
I was about five months pregnant when this process began, and by the time you hold this issue in your hands, my husband and I will be holding our three-month-old baby boy in ours. It’s a very special time for me personally, on so many levels; working with Edward and his team, both during my pregnancy and my maternity leave, has played no small part in that joy – it has been a privilege to be welcomed and supported by this amazing team. To Edward, thank you for entrusting me with this. I am deeply honoured. To the women who have taken my aspirations for this issue and brought them to life by being a part of this time capsule, both on the cover and in-book, I am so grateful; you are inspirations to me and I’m humbled by your support. And to you, the reader, thank you – and I hope you enjoy…
I like that she’s reminding readers that she was actually working on all of this throughout the last four months of her pregnancy, and likely after she gave birth to Archie too. This is what she does – she works on big projects for months and then does a spectacular reveal. It’s her thing. And I have to wonder what the reaction would have been if the Duchess of Cambridge had ever done anything this big and managed to keep it mostly quiet for months, only for a big reveal? I say that because so much of Kate’s work IS the advanced hype, the multiple reports of keenness months in advance and updates on meetings and more reports of keenness. So, what would the reaction have been? Don’t tell me, I already know.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.