Simply put: This cover is so good. If I walked past this at a newsstand at the airport, I would turn right around and go pick it up. The fact that her hands are kind of out of focus, but her face — and her “Iconic” necklace — are not gives it a depth that is unusual and cool on a magazine cover, and, of course, she looks GREAT.

Also, the cover story — by Ashley C. Ford — is excellent (the kicker is basically perfect). (When you hire actual writers to write your things, the things are better!) It is well worth your time to read the entire thing, and also you should pop over to see the rest of the photo shoot, because Missy looks great. The following is really only half of this story, and it’s even good truncated:

She says she’s used to the doubt in her ability or trajectory. She knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life when she was in kindergarten. “This is why you have to listen to kids. I knew what I wanted. I remember.” Elliott says her teacher asked the class what they wanted to be every week. (Not surprising, as kids’ inclinations for their futures change rapidly.) Her classmates’ minds did change often, though the list of possible futures they considered stayed roughly the same: “I want to be a fireman.” “I want to be a teacher.” “I want to be a doctor.” “I want to be a lawyer.” Elliott’s answer was consistent each week: “‘I’m going to be a superstar,’ and the whole class would bust out laughing.” Elliott’s teacher, Mrs. Gardner, would admonish the class, insisting that if Elliott wanted to be a superstar, it was possible that’s exactly who she would become. The young Elliott was unfazed. Her certainty in her talent and her commitment to music felt tangible to her and within her grasp. She didn’t wish ill on any of her classmates—but she didn’t forget them either.

I strongly suspect every single one of those kids now tells a story about how they went to kindergarten with Missy Elliot.

[Photo: Micaiah Carter]