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The Power of a Fresh Start

Photo: Campbell Addy

When we at the Cut talk about who we want in our Fall Fashion issue, we start by looking for those in the public realm who are wielding the power they have in a way that feels intentional and thoughtful. The magazine for us is more than just what appears in these pages or on our site; it’s a space for readers to feel seen and heard and to hear from women and femmes who speak to them, people who go against the grain, who are unapologetically determined to live in their truth no matter the consequences.

So who better to represent that this fall than Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Megan Thee Stallion, two Black women whose lives have been filled with criticism and critique but used it to fuel the fire of their next act? In a world where misogynoir is everywhere, both have faced enormous hurdles and both are standing tall.

I’ve long had an immense admiration for Meghan Markle and the resilience she has displayed despite the almost unimaginable pressure she has been under, as Allison P. Davis makes clear in her intimate profile. Presenting Meghan here in a regal fashion that’s modern and accessible was a considered choice to show that she’s a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a human being — a real person who has faced enormous, often racist public vitriol. Photographer Campbell Addy captures her ready for a fresh start — with her new podcast, Archetypes, and her ambitious plans for Archewell, the foundation she shares with her husband, Harry.

Megan Thee Stallion’s new album, Traumazine, quite frankly left no crumbs. It is the definition of turning pain into the most authentic art. She has admitted that she’s felt unprotected as a Black woman and, in real time, seems to be learning the clichés of being labeled “nice” as opposed to an “angry Black woman.” As she tells our contributor Ashley C. Ford, she’s done being nice. We photographed Megan in some of fall’s most exciting fashion — a Vivienne Westwood corset dress, a fur-collared wool coat from newcomer GmbH, a Tom Ford dress, and a Balenciaga coat — that is sexy in a way that’s, well, classy, bougie, and ratchet. There’s no one better to embody the full range of sexiness than Megan Thee Stallion, whose lyrics have become life mantras.

Meghan and Megan are both powerful, vulnerable, and royalty in their own right, trying to find success on their own terms. That project of self-definition is, I imagine, something all of us can relate to. It’s easy to sink beneath the barrage of opinions and criticism. But strength comes from finding solid ground, planting roots, and trying to grow above the noise.

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The Power of a Fresh Start