Harper's Bazaar has long been responsible for some of the most renowned editorials in fashion history. There's still room for first-time accomplishments in the magazine's global editions, though. The latest issue of the glossy's India edition features transgender models Tracey Norman and Geena Rocero on two of the nine images in its cover series. It's the first time the magazine (or any of its many international editions) has ever featured trans models on its covers.
The covers were conceived by the magazine's art director, Christopher Sollinger. The idea for the editorial came to him after he read a New York magazine profile on Tracey Norman's short but incredibly significant career in the '70s and '80s, which ended abruptly when she was outed for being transgender. "The way she had to live in hiding and in fear, being such a beautiful woman with so many talents and gifts, just felt so wrong," Sollinger told The Cut. "She’s someone who should be celebrated. I wanted to create an image that she would be able to look at and feel proud and seen and loved and appreciated."
He expanded the scope of the project beyond Norman to celebrate all sorts of diversity. "Showcasing white woman after white woman on covers does not work anymore — we need to show the women of the world that is of now," Sollinger said in a release from Harper's Bazaar India. To that end, the art director cast mostly models of color for his nine covers, including Cora Emmanuel, Hind Sahli, Soo Joo Park, and Tyra Banks, as well as other industry players who represent diversity in some way. (Apparently, Banks only signed on to the project after Sollinger shared Norman's story with her — and then paid her own way to the shoot, according to The Cut.)
Also featured in this group is Geena Rocero, a Filipino-American model and the founder of Gender Proud, who famously came out during a Ted Talk in 2014. "Diversity has always been the DNA of Harper’s Bazaar," Nonita Kalra, the magazine's India editor, explained in the release. "The Indian edition is delighted to follow in such illustrious steps." Both Norman and Rocero took to Instagram to share how honored they were to be featured on the Harper's Bazaar India cover (and alongside each other, no less).
For the covers, the nine models were photographed by Stockton Johnson wearing custom headpieces designed by American artist Isaac Aden, making the images reminiscent of Jean Shrimpton's classic 1965 Harper's Bazaar U.S. cover (which was shot by Richard Avedon). Ahead, see all of the cover stars of Harper's Bazaar India's latest issue — we'd love to see U.S.-based glossies showcase this kind of inclusivity and representation on the newsstands.