Many of you guessed Florence Pugh would land a Vogue cover in 2023, though most thought it would be pinned to Dune, which got nary a mention in this story at all. A few guessed it for Oppenheimer, which does come up, but only briefly. What I think happened, after having read the piece: Vogue made a calculated gamble that either Don’t Worry Darling or The Wonder would be Oscars fodder, and planned to pin the cover to that. In that respect they lost, as neither movie has hung on long enough. Instead, the profile pivots to discussing a forthcoming film she made with her ex Zach Braff, A Good Person, and then sorta twirls around and enjoys the freedom to have scope beyond helping out with an Oscar push. Regardless, all of you who guessed Florence were correct, so pat yourselves on the backs, and then we can all collectively wonder whether we actually LIKE the cover. For me… the answer is no.

Florence is really fun on-screen, and in fact, I found myself watching the 8-minute cooking video she did for this, in which she makes a basic martini and a crostini that’s basically a bruschetta (today I learned the difference is in the type of bread used), and it’s her easy energy that kept me there. So naturally, OF COURSE, the cover does not capitalize on that. Flo also talks a lot about body image, how she suffered while shooting pilot in L.A. where producers cruelly scrutinized her figure, and how she has since drawn a line when it comes to playing the diet game. So naturally, OF COURSE, the cover appears to have chiseled her cheekbones (compare it to other shots from a similar angle; it DOES look different to me). And Florence loves to cook and is very loose and chill about it, so naturally, OF COURSE, the cover puts her in some sterile restaurant kitchen with a pomegranate?!? I guess that’s better than having her stand still and hold a massive dead fish. Oh wait. They also did that. Honestly, that one at least is so weird that it got a laugh out of me? I probably WOULD pick up a copy of Vogue where Miss Flo is sternly offering me a jumbo salmon, and that’s saying something, as the only thing about fish I dislike more than eating one is looking at one. Or catching one, touching one… just no, hard pass on all fish except if it’s called Wanda and involves Jamie Lee Curtis and EVEN THEN I have to skip the scene where Kevin Kline puts the… you know what, I’m getting queasy, I’m not finishing that sentence. (On that note, please don’t yell at me if Miss Flo’s fish is not a salmon — I picked a type at random to avoid staring at its nuances.)

ANYHOO. This cover makes a vibrant woman look blown-out and wan, and I’m not feeling it at all. It’s also a shame when the cover line clashes with the image. She doesn’t look fierce or fearless or unfiltered here. She looks like someone backed her into a corner, and she’s trying to be calm while mentally sorting out how close she is to the nearest knife. It gives me the creeps. The story, though, is nice — it’s one of those where they go on a forced outing and then to dinner, except you get the sense Florence is really game, good company, and that you’d really enjoy an afternoon of chat and weaving with her before over-ordering at a restaurant. There are a lot of meaty details in it, including more from her on the time she wore a see-through Valentino and the Internet was shitty about it — something that, as we suspected, only empowered her more.

“I’ve never been scared of what’s underneath the fabric. If I’m happy in it, then I’m gonna wear it. Of course, I don’t want to offend people, but I think my point is: How can my nipples offend you that much? It’s very important that we do this. I know that some people might scoff at me saying that, but if a dress with my breasts peeking through is encouraging people to say, ‘Well, if you were to get raped, you would deserve it,’ it just shows me that there’s so much more work to do.”

Give it a whirl, will you? There are way more photos than we were allowed to use, too, if that’s bonus enticement.

[Photo: Colin Dodgson, story by Chloe Schama; the winter issue of Vogue is available on newsstands Jan. 24]