September is traditionally the biggest month for fashion magazines, the beginning of the fashion year, so to speak. So getting a September cover is even more impressive than the already rare feat of landing the cover of a major fashion magazine like Elle. This year, the magazine is giving a nod to the influence of the LGBTQ community, both in fashion and in the world at large.
“This September’s ELLE is braver, bolder, and SMARTER than ever before. A new design, to mark a new era in fashion,” the magazine wrote. “To celebrate the re-design, ELLE has created FIVE special collectors’ covers.”
The issue will features five covers themed “Rise of the Rebel.” Three of those will depict LGBTQ influencers: Out actress Kristen Stewart, bisexual and nonbinary actress Amandla Stenberg, and transgender actress and model Hari Nef. Musician Zayn Malik, the former One Direction band member who has been supportive of LGBTQ fans while denying that he is gay, is also included in the series. The fifth cover features embroidery art by Claire Barrett reading “Now What?”
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Kristen Stewart addressed rumors about her sexuality in a conversation with Nylon after a photo emerged of her holding hands with then-girlfriend Alicia Cargile. The Twilight star, like many millenials, identifies as something other than straight, but prefers to eschew labels:
Google me, I’m not hiding… I think in three or four year, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don’t think it’s necessary to figure out if you’re gay or straight. It’s like, just do your thing.
Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg came out as nonbinary in a conversation that unfolded on Tumblr, in which Stenberg expressed that gender neutral “they/them” pronouns are more comfortable, but that “she/her” is preferred in public contexts for now. She also talked about identifying as bisexual in a snap chat for Teen Vogue:
It’s a really really hard thing to be silenced and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn’t be in…Here I am being myself and it’s definitely hard and vulnerable and it’s definitely a process but I’m learning and I’m growing.
Hari Nef was the first openly transgender model signed to the IMG Worldwide and stars in the Amazon original series “Transparent” as one of the characters’ trans ancestors. She talked to Vogue about modeling from the start of her transition and not emulating feminine stereotypes:
Insisting on perhaps a more gender ambiguous or barefaced or subtle femininity as a trans woman has opened me up to certain dangers and rejection. There’s also confusion from cisgender folks. It’s like, ‘Girl, you should be doing everything you can to be femme. Why aren’t you? If you went a little harder for this, people really wouldn’t clock you! You could really get straight men!’
While Zayn Malik is not, to anyone’s public knowledge, a member of the LGBTQ community, he has faced his share of gay rumors and was the recipient of the racist and homophobic rant that got rapper Azaelia Banks banned from Twitter. Still, he expressed appreciation for LGBTQ fans in an interview with Out:
If guys find me attractive, then that’s a cool thing as well. It’s sick. It’s a compliment. I’m blessed by whoever was up there to be who I am and be able to do what I do. I genuinely mean that.
The magazine is available for pre-order online in limited runs, and hits stands by September.