Vanity Fair released the cover of its annual Hollywood issue is out today, and for the first time ever in the issue’s 25-year history, the majority of its featured stars are actors of color, including a healthy number of women of color.
The annual cover is often scrutinized as a barometer of whether progress has been made in an industry that still limits the opportunities given to men and women of color, not to mention queer and trans actors. This year, the cover features, from left to right, Chadwick Boseman, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothee Chalamet, with Nicholas Hoult (was he even in a movie this year???), Yalitza Aparicio, Rami Malek, and Regina King on the middle third. Rounding it out are John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Tessa Thompson, and Henry Golding.
Aparicio and Boseman both spoke directly to the changes happening within Hollywood. “While my time in the business has been short, it has been a source of pride and hope for many people to see someone that looks like me—an indigenous person—starring in an Oscar-winning director’s film. And a big change for Hollywood,” Aparicio said. Boseman added, “The actors who are within the pages of this issue give new breath to what Hollywood is and what Hollywood is going to be. And that’s in terms of diversity, ethnicity, gender, and the type of work that we’re doing.”
It is the magazine’s first Hollywood Issue cover under the helm of new editor Radhika Jones, who took over the magazine from Graydon Carter last March. In an editor’s letter that Jones wrote last year, she all but shouted that Vanity Fair under her leadership would prioritize coverage that better reflects the viewing public: “Arguments that have simmered for years—about the importance of championing women, new voices, people who come from a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds—are finding an audience.”
If the optics of representation still stands in for real progress in Hollywood when it comes to racial and gender diversity, then this cover has done its job. If the reaction to this year’s cover is any indication, it is progress of a sort that many have been hungry for.