British Vogue is honouring those on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic by featuring three key workers on the cover.
In its July issue, the fashion bible has swapped models and celebrities in favour of three female key workers who appear as cover stars.
Titled The New Front Line, the magazine’s latest issue issue features Narguis Horsford, a train driver on the London Overground, Rachel Millar, a 24-year-old community midwife in east London and Anisa Omar, a 21-year-old supermarket worker in King’s Cross.
The women were captured by photographer Jamie Hawkesworth as part of a 20-page portfolio for the magazine and each spoke to the publication to reveal their experiences of working throughout the pandemic.
Narguis Horsford has worked for Transport for London for 10 years and driven overground trains for five years.
While she doesn’t feel “anxious” about going to work, she explained she chose to distance herself from her family during lockdown to protect them because “I’m out here and I’m on the front line.
“This has certainly shown us that life is short. And we can’t take anything for granted. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
Horsford says she has experienced an increase in love and respect since the outbreak.
“I am no hero, but I’m proud of being a train driver and the essential role we are playing during the coronavirus crisis.
“Our services are vitally important to keep London moving throughout these unprecedented times and maintaining safety, to ensure our key workers can get to where they need to be to provide the services that are required.”
Rachel Millar has been a midwife for three years and describes “one of the hardest moments” as having her bike stolen at the start of the pandemic.
She went on to praise the rush of support she received from the public after a friend started a fundraiser which raised more than £500 to get her “back on the road.”
After another colleague tweeted the story and within an hour a local company had donated a brand new electric bike.
“It’s just one example of the community support and kindness that I’ve seen over the past few months, and what initially drew me to work in Homerton Hospital and the surrounding area,” she said.
“To say that I’m proud of my work family and my wider community’s response to the pandemic, is an understatement.”
She also hopes that the support for key workers will continue long after Clap for Carers.
“After the 8pm clapping fades, I hope the NHS won’t be forgotten.”
Waitrose worker Anisa Omar, 21, has been a supermarket assistant for a year and says she believes customers have more respect and compassion for her now.
“Before the pandemic, people would look at us as service assistants – we’re there to show them where the eggs are or if they want to complain about something. But now they’re a lot more understanding,” she explained.
“They understand that we’re here all the time, and they don’t have to leave their houses. People are a lot nicer, they’re warmer.”
Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of the magazine praised the cover stars for their hard work during the pandemic.
He explained that he came up with the idea for The New Front Line issue, after realising that though the huge sacrifices doctors, nurses and carers in the NHS were being highlighted, other key workers weren’t receiving so much recognition.
“I was also thinking about all the other people out there – the bus and Tube drivers, the postman who delivered my letters, the people I saw stacking shelves in my local supermarket – who were putting their lives on the line for us, every day,” the editor said.
Enninful said he believes there has been a “shift” in who the population “look up to and admire”, and these individuals “need to be celebrated”.
“They were always heroes, doing their jobs to keep this country on its feet – but they are also normal people,” he stated.
“There is such a beauty in normality, but it’s taken an international crisis for us to see it.”
Read the full feature in the July issue of British Vogue, available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 5th June.