3 female front-line workers are British Vogue's June cover stars

A train driver, a midwife and a supermarket worker are featured on the covers.

June 2, 2020, 6:37 PM

Three front-line workers are the cover stars for the July 2020 issue of British Vogue, highlighting the role of essential employees during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In place of models or actresses, Narguis Horsford, a train driver for the London Overground; Rachel Millar, a community midwife; and Anisa Omar, a supermarket worker and business school student were captured -- each with their own front cover -- by photographer Jamie Hawkesworth.

"This moment in history required something extra special, a moment of thanks to the new frontline," British Vogue said in a statement ahead of the issue hitting newsstands in the U.K. and online on Friday.

All three women are based in London, since travel limitations meant that the photographer and editorial crew were not able to leave the capital, but speak to a global theme.

"His pictures tell a story that will be familiar across Britain -- and the rest of the world," Vogue said in a statement. "It is an uplifting tale of kindness and revived community spirit, of people pulling together."

The article showcases the three women and their daily routines, and the challenges they have faced during the pandemic. The women represent the thousands of supermarket workers, health care staff and transportation employees who have been continuously working throughout the lockdown period, keeping strained public services afloat.

"I can think of no more appropriate trio of women to 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," said Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful.

"I am no hero, but I'm proud of being a train driver and the essential role we are playing during the coronavirus crisis," Narguis Horsford told the magazine. "Our services are vitally important to keep London moving throughout these unprecedented times and maintaining safety, to ensure our key workers can get to where they need to be to provide the services that are required."

Anisa Omar said that attitudes in the U.K. had shifted toward honoring key workers such as herself, due to the visible role they played in keeping society afloat during the lockdown.

"Before the pandemic, people would look at us as service assistants -- we're there to show them where the eggs are or if they want to complain about something. But now they're a lot more understanding. They understand that we're here all the time, and they don't have to leave their houses. People are a lot nicer, they're warmer," she said.

Enninful, who has not shied away from using the magazine to make political statements, has made diversity and social issues a hallmark of his tenure at British Vogue. Taking over from longtime editor Alexandra Shulman in 2017, he chose Adwoa Aboah, a mixed-race model and feminist activist, as his first cover star. For that first issue, there was no mention of fashion or trends on the cover, but a list of contributors and interviewees encompassing the world of politics and culture, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

British Vogue also famously featured Duchess Meghan Markle as a guest editor for the July 2019 issue. The duchess declined to appear as cover star, and instead worked on an article with 15 women hailed as "forces for change," including activists and public figures like New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and climate change activist Greta Thunberg.