British Vogue is breaking with their usual approach to who goes on their magazine covers – a space normally reserved for A-list celebrities and supermodels.
In the age of a pandemic, the iconic magazine has devoted its cover for the July 2020 issue to honour key workers who have been working tirelessly during the lockdown.
Gracing the front cover is Anisa Omar, 21, who works as a supermarket assistant at Waitrose in King’s Cross.
She graces the magazine along with two other frontline workers who appear on a special gatefold cover.
The three different versions of the magazine will feature Anisa, London Overground train driver Narguis Horsford, and midwife Rachel Millar – who will each take a turn on the front.
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 explained online.
‘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.’
We caught up with Anisa to see what it’s like being on the cover of one of the most prominent magazines in the world.
She said: ‘It’s been quite a strange experience going from someone who is quite overlooked to now being identified as a key worker.
‘At the end of the day, I get up, come to work, do my job, and try and help people. It’s been lovely to see the kindness the customers have been showing all of us, it definitely feels as if we are all in this together.’
Also included in the tribute is the person photographing them – fashion photographer Jamie Hawkesworth, who has previously shot models including Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid.
Jamie 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.
Being photographed by Jamie was a huge deal for Anisa, who has two siblings that also work in other Waitrose branches.
She adds: ‘I don’t think it will really all sink in for a while, and maybe not until I see the magazine displayed as I’m going about my business and working.
‘Jamie was so lovely to me and made me feel completely at ease, even if I was a little nervous and had to do my own makeup!’
For Anisa, working during the pandemic hasn’t been too stressful and her colleagues have made it easier.
She says: ‘My shifts have been the same, even if my responsibilities can be a bit different day-to-day.
‘We have screens and gloves and masks you can wear so I feel safe. I was a bit worried about it all at first but actually my colleagues were the thing that kept me going.’
Anisa says that it’s nice to feel appreciated as she and her key worker siblings work to keep the country running.
She hopes it’ll last in the future.
‘I hope the country will have a new appreciation for supermarket workers but I think that goes for everyone in all different jobs. The kindness we’ve seen over the past few months have been lovely and I hope it continues.’
The new issue of Vogue will be available from Friday 5 June.