The latest edition of Harper's Bazaar India is gaining attention for the best possible reason — it's the first to feature transgender models on the cover.
This isn't just the first time transgender models appear on Harper's Bazaar India. It is also the first time a transgender model has appeared on any of the international editions.
The models making history are Geena Rocero and Tracey "Africa" Norman. Each model has snagged their own individual cover along with eight other influential models including Tyra Banks, Soo Joo Park, Hind Sahli, Hannelore Knuts, Emanuela de Paula, Daisy Clementine Smith, Pyper America Smith, and Cora Emmanuel.
The cover series is a collaboration between Harper's Bazaar India and art director Christopher Sollinger, which focuses on celebrating diversity.
The covers were shot by photographer Stockton Johnson and feature the models wearing custom headpieces designed by artist Isaac Aden with styling by Kisha C. Jones.
Refinery29 reported that the inspiration for the cover series came to Sollinger after he read how Tracey Norman's pioneering career was cut short in an article in The Cut after it was discovered that she was transgender. He told The Cut in another interview:
"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."
After the original influential article, Norman also booked her "Color as Natural as You Are" campaign, which discussed her career. It highlighted how she helped pave the way for many models of today like Geena Rocero.
Rocero is another influential model who is an advocate for transgender equality. She is the founder of Gender Proud, an organization which aids transgender communities around the world. Rocero took to Instagram after her cover was revealed to say how proud she was of it, "What a honor to share this @bazaarindia cover with the legendary @therealtraceyafrica @tyrabanks."
There are lots of beautiful magazine covers, but the Harper's Bazaar India covers are much more than visually appealing.