This American Vogue Cover Made History

Photo: Nadine Ijewere/Vogue

On Tuesday morning, Vogue revealed its April cover starring Selena Gomez. It was shot by Nadine Ijewere, a photographer from London, who captured the superstar with a sense of casual elegance, her hair blowing in the wind. Although this was not Gomez’s first time gracing the American glossy, it was Ijewere’s first time shooting a cover for the publication. As a woman of Jamaican-Nigerian descent, this makes her the first Black woman to photograph a cover of American Vogue.

“As a young Black woman, I didn’t imagine that I would one day have the opportunity to shoot a cover for American Vogue,” Ijewere, who has shot spreads for the magazine in the past, wrote in a post on her personal Instagram today. Although women make up the majority of fashion consumers, men still hold a disproportionate amount of power in the industry, from the designers and executives at the helms of fashion houses, to photographers, to the stylists working behind the scenes. And as the gatekeepers at brands like Vogue have begun to heed calls for diversity, they’ve historically turned to Black men first.

“When I was studying, there were virtually no female photographers of colour in this industry,” Ijewere told British Vogue in 2018, when she became the first woman of color to shoot a cover for that magazine as well. “I feel like in doing this I’m proving to younger girls from a similar background that it’s achievable,” she continued. “It also feels like part of a broader shift within our culture to include far more diversity, both behind the camera and in front of it.”

“I’m so honoured to have been able to work with my fellow sister Gabriella Karefa-Johnson,” Ijewere added in her Instagram post on Tuesday, referring to the prominent stylist, who was the fashion editor on the story — and who became the first Black woman to style a Vogue cover with her work on the January 2021 issue. “I hope this encourages Black women that there is space for us to take in this industry.”

This Vogue Cover Made History