Meghan Markle amassed a power squad of women to grace the cover of the upcoming British Vogue “Forces of Change” issue. As the first guest editor in the mag’s history, Markle brought together 15 incredible women, including Laverne Cox, Jameela Jamil, Jane Fonda, Yara Shahidi, Gemma Chan, models Christy Turlington, Adwoa Aboah, and Adut Akech Bior, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, climate change activist Greta Thunberg, boxer Ramla Ali, diversity advocate Sinéad Burke, principal ballerina and Cats star Francesca Hayward, and writer Chimamanda Adichie. The 15th spot on the landmark cover goes to actor Salma Hayek, who is now revealing that her road to Markle’s British Vogue was a top-secret mission. Very James Bond.
Hayek said she was surprised when close friend and British Vogue editor Edward Enninful called and asked to patch her through to another person. “I was in the car and he said, ‘Listen, I’m going to put somebody on the phone. Are you in the car with people?’ I said ‘Yes.’ He told me ‘you cannot say the name of the person I’m calling.’ Frankly, I thought it was a joke. And we are also very good friends with Naomi Campbell. And I thought, they’re pulling my leg or something, you know? I said, ‘Oh, she’s in London and he’s gonna pass me to her,” Hayek told CNN. “But then it took a while for the other person to get on the phone. Then she got on the phone and introduced herself.”
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Spoiler alert, that person was Markle. Meghan Markle. The Duchess of Sussex and Hayek had never met and Enninful quickly exited the call, allowing the two women to talk privately. “She introduced herself and was very kind and loving and easy going,” said Hayek, adding that Markle told her about a “project in support of women” that she was currently working on.
“I got excited. I’m thinking and I’m trying to find the logic to this strange day,” said Hayek, who in addition to her successful movie career has been involved in women’s charities for the past 25 years, including the Kering Foundation, an organization that combats violence against women and one in which Hayek is a board member.
“She explained her passion for women and what’s happening currently. And then she said she’s doing this with British Vogue. She said, you know, she was the guest editor of British Vogue, and I’m thinking maybe it’s going to be an article on what we’re doing, you know, with Kering and women, and she said no, ‘I’m [doing a cover], I’m not going to be the cover, I’m putting my favorite women on the cover. And you’re definitely one of them. You one of the first ones.’ I was like completely shocked. I did not see it coming that way. She started talking about how she’s been watching me and why me.”
Hayek said that first phone call kicked off months of secret conversations, with the actor sworn to secrecy, even with her husband, daughter and publicist. In Hollywood, your publicist is listed with family members. “I couldn’t talk about it and I didn’t,” she said.
Hayek said that she felt honoured to be included in the cover shoot and was one of the only celebrities involved who knew the real identity of the guest editor. “Only me and the photographer, Peter Lindbergh, knew. And all the girls were getting their picture taken for the cover and they didn’t know that Meghan was how they got there.”
As for Markle’s decision to not appear on the cover, a move the Duchess told Enninful she thought was ‘boastful,’ Hayek applauded the former actor. “I loved that she didn’t want to be on the cover,” said Hayek. “She used her light to put it upon others, the ones who inspired her.”
As for whether the pair will ever meet in person, Hayek goes back into royal protocol. “Maybe it’s not something you’re gonna see,” teases Hayek. “I think we had a connection before we even talked to each other. The shock is that this person had been watching me and I had no idea. It’s really beautiful and I really do think that we have a special connection.”
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I am beyond honoured to have been chosen by The Duchess of Sussex and @BritishVogue for the Forces For Change special issue. It feels incredibly inspiring to be included in the company of women I admire by a woman I admire. Estoy más que honorada de haber sido elegida por La Duquesa de Sussex y @BritishVogue para el número especial Forces for Change. Me siento increíblemente inspirada por ser incluida en la compañía de mujeres que admiro por una mujer que admiro. #ForcesForChange @SussexRoyal Photographed by @TheRealPeterLindbergh, with fashion editors @Edward_Enninful and @TheRealGraceCoddington, hair by @BartPumpkin and @SergeNormant, make-up by @TheValGarland and @Diane.Kendal, nails by @LorraineVGriffin and @YukoTsuchihashi. On newsstands Friday 2 August. Starring: @AdutAkech @Gemma_Chan @GretaThunberg @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @AdwoaAboah @JacindaArdern @FrankieGoesToHayward @SomaliBoxer @CTurlington @SalmaHayek @TheSineadBurke @JaneFonda @LaverneCox @YaraShahidi