I have been hot-and-cold on the Vanity Fair covers under Radhika Jones. Some of them, I’ve liked quite a bit; others I’ve thought were terrible; all of them I thought showed signs of figuring out how to keep the magazine true to its essence while putting on the stamp of a fresh perspective, which is, of course, as it naturally would be under a new editor. (Related, if you think those sorts of decisions are interesting, this is where I once again recommend Tina Brown’s book The Vanity Fair Diaries, which is both so juicy AND so logistics-y about covers.) This cover, however, is GREAT. Does it sort of look like an amazing fashion magazine? Yes. But it — and she — are nonetheless stunning, and eye-catching. (I also love the placement of her arm, her skirt, and her name. It feels like a fresh update on the way magazines sometimes play with their title.)

The editorial shoot is also AMAZING and very much worth a look, while the interview is a well-done look at Lupita’s career and background. I liked this detail about Oscar morning:

…[T]he morning of the Oscars ceremony, Nyong’o’s team walked in to dress her for the first time—the big time—but they were all a bundle of nerves. Nyong’o says she was blissed out from a massage that Alfre Woodard had gifted to her, but her team was “shaking. They were physically shaking, they were so nervous.” So Nyong’o turned on the stereo and blasted “Grown Woman.”

“Beyoncé did the trick. We danced it off, we had a good laugh, and then we sat down.”“You’ve got to let the oxygen in,” Nyong’o says. “I believe in enjoying the moment. It’s about the moment.”

This is such a vivid image — I actually remember ALSO being nervous that morning for Lupita (I realize this is silly, but I get weirdly stressed out for people to really nail the Oscars red carpet, especially if I think they’re going to win), and I can only imagine how Micaela Erlanger and the rest of her team felt; I would have wanted to vomit the entire time.

[Photo: Jackie Nickerson]
Tags: Vanity Fair