One thing that always strikes me about Saoirse Ronan when she’s interviewed: She is so damn charming. She’s engaging and wry and dry, quite aside from being lovely, and so why in the world did Vogue decide to slap her on its cover looking so insanely severe? Yes, Saoirse is playing Mary, Queen of Scots, who had a rough go (to put it mildly). And yes, the effect of the tulle blowing at just the right angle in the wind is very intriguing, and SURE, of course there’s something nifty about how it appears she’s wearing no makeup. (I did think back to several of the freckle conversations we’ve had about magazine covers, though; freckles are hot right now, and so everyone’s showing them off on stripped-down covers, but — as with some of the others — I am not sure I believe Saoirse has quite this many of them.) And it’s true that the cover story is fairly light on, well, lightness, though she comes off as a thoughtful and mature human. But there are ways to harness that without her looking remote and almost bedraggled. If “She Rules” is the pun you’re going for, and you’re taking her from misfit teen to monarch, then it’s weird to use an image in which she comes across very MUCH like a teen who is not totally sure what she’s doing there. Her eyes seem spacey. Her hair, in the front on the right, looks like someone cut it with a butter knife. There’s a Glamorous Warrior quality to it, a bit, like she’s Joan of Arc fighting on a CFDA crusade, but… sigh. It’s also off-putting and cold, neither of which she seems to be.

And not for nothing: If Priyanka Chopra is such a global megastar, why isn’t she on your cover about a month of firsts, instead of another shot of a sad, distant white lady in a floral gown? Not that Ronan doesn’t deserve to be, too, but if you’re so confident of Priyanka’s mega-fame, don’t run from it. Has an Indian woman ever been on the cover of U.S. Vogue, by herself or with anyone else? Because that would be a worthy first.

[Photo: Vogue]