First, I realize that GIF up there is random, but how could I NOT share a shot of her beating up a clown balloon? She is, in that moment, so many of us.
Second: We wondered about this at length earlier this week, and I’m delighted to confirm that Priyanka Chopra did indeed make Vogue history without having to share the cover shot:
I am also pleased that “breaking barriers” got priority on the cover line over her love life, and that Nick Jonas’s name is not mentioned, because both those things suggest that at least SOMEONE over there gets that she does not need him to contextualize her. But “landing the man of her dreams” is such an archaic turn of phrase. I understand that Nick plays enormously into the cover story itself, and they probably wanted to reference it since it’s the news peg of the day, but I wish they’d found a way to reference that without reverting to the language of a time when there were dowries and a man was considered her big accomplishment.
As for the cover shot itself, I can’t decide what I think. On one hand, I think it’s great that they photographed her the same way they would anyone else — meaning, they didn’t say, “We have an Indian actress; LET’S GO FULL BOLLYWOOD.” They kept it simple, and let her beauty be the captivating factor, and that certainly worked. But I wish there was a little more flash and fire in her eyes, and I would’ve loved to have known what other options there were from this part of the shoot, because she more than carries the red outfit and I think it would have popped stunningly. Although here the red masthead is really effective, and with that dress maybe it would’ve been too much? Did I just talk myself out of my own note? Maybe. It’s hard to talk about photographing a tremendously gorgeous person without sounding absurd, because it’s like, “Yes, she’s tremendously gorgeous, but is she AS tremendously gorgeous in this shot as she COULD be?” Degrees of tremendous gorgeousness is a Champagne problem to have. On the whole, she does still leap off the page, and she absolutely will grab eyeballs at the newsstand. I hope it’s a huge seller that knocks Vogue right out of the xenophobic rut it seemed to be in, as far as ignoring her prior to now and so frequently being so very, very white.
Separately, and about that previous piece: The other day I was working in haste, editing the context of The Cut’s woeful and controversial article about Nick and Priyanka’s relationship into something I’d already put together about Vogue’s lead-up to this cover reveal. Some of what that Cut story did was misrepresent, or at least not even try to understand, major aspects of Indian wedding tradition. The piece was deleted before I was able to read it in full, but even being tangentially aware of its missteps, I wish I had thrown in some better information to give context to our own piece — even just to the other photos we used. Nick and Priyanka’s ceremony, which was accused of being excessive by some in both our comments and other places, was right in line with Priyanka’s own cultural norms. (Besides, you want to talk excess? Look to the Kardashian-West wedding, or even the Kardashian-Humphries wedding — each invitation had hundreds of crystals on it and came in its own box — or that time Tom and Katie got married in a castle just because they could.) People seems to have the most detail about their Hindu wedding itself, plus the ceremonies that typically precede and follow it. A writer at InStyle described the Mahandi — a henna ritual for women in both families — with some lovely details from personal experience. People also has a Q&A about it, plus some close-ups of the personal touches Priyanka put in her henna. I’m sure there are many other informative links, and I encourage everyone to share anything they know — some of which was amply covered in the comments of our previous posts, but there’s always room for more Informative Wedding Information, truly. I learn so much from Fug Nation and its varied experiences, and I really value you all for that.
And congrats to Priyanka for breaking THIS barrier. It should not have taken this long.
Next, we can all turn our attention to fretting about how Vogue is currently shooting a cover with Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber to “celebrate their love.” Sometimes I think, “Why does anyone WANT this cover anymore?”