Meghan Markle's Instructions for the Cover Shoot of Her 'British Vogue' Issue: "I Want to See Freckles!"

The key word for the cover shoot was "natural," according to the photographer.

Facial expression, Smile, Street fashion,
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yesterday, we got a first look at a very big deal: the Duchess of Sussex' guest-edited September issue of British Vogue, on sale Friday. And the cover is something pretty special. In keeping with the issue title, "Forces for Change," it features 15 impossibly inspiring women, including Laverne Cox, Greta Thunberg, Yara Shahidi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sinéad Burke, and Salma Hayek Pinault. 

In an interview with editor Edward Enninful and photographer Peter Lindbergh, who shot each woman for the cover, British Vogue revealed Meghan's vision. Choosing Lindbergh, Enninful said, wasn't difficult. "It was one of those brilliantly spontaneous moments when HRH The Duchess of Sussex and I had exactly the same idea at exactly the same time," he said. "Peter sees beauty in real people, in real situations. He makes everybody feel their best."

The inspiration for the "Forces for Change" cover was Lindbergh's now iconic January 1990 cover, featuring Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford, while a recurring theme in pre-photoshoot discussions was "natural," according to the photographer.

And Lindbergh shared one specific direction he received from Meghan. "My instructions from the Duchess were clear: 'I want to see freckles!'" he said. "Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles."

So does Meghan—back in 2017, she told Allure about "feeling too light in the Black community, too mixed in the white community," and being labeled "ethnically ambiguous" for castings. "Add the freckles to the mix and it created quite the conundrum," she said. "To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot."

Meghan went on to encourage others to love their freckles, a mission she's continued with her British Vogue issue. "For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger," she told Allure. "'A face without freckles is a night without stars.'"

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Emily Dixon
Morning Editor

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.