UEA graduate and midwife shines as Vogue cover star
PUBLISHED: 17:50 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 19:02 03 June 2020
A former student at the University of East Anglia (UEA) is among a trio of women who have become the first non-celebrities to appear solo on the front cover of British Vogue.
A photograph of graduate Rachel Millar, a midwife at Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, London, was selected to appear on the front of the magazine’s July issue as part of a feature celebrating key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Miss Millar, 24, was born and raised in Northern Ireland before attending university in Norwich.
After graduating she landed an NHS job at Homerton – she had dreamt of being a midwife since she was 15.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she said: “I was just doing a normal shift on the labour ward and came out of the room to get an epidural top-up. The photographer was there and I just kind of got herded in front of the camera, had my photo taken and went back into the room, so it was not planned at all.
“I had no idea at that time that [it would be on the front cover].
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“We didn’t really know what it was going to be used for – obviously we knew it was for Vogue and it was going to be some sort of feature on key workers in the pandemic, but that’s literally all we knew.”
In total there will be three separate fronts for Vogue’s July issue, advertising a 20-page feature looking at some of the nation’s pandemic heroes – Miss Millar features alongside supermarket worker Anisa Omar and train driver Narguis Horsford.
Originally from Coagh in County Tyrone, she moved to Norwich to study at UEA before moving to the capital three years ago, where she works as a community midwife.
UEA’s alumni office said they were “extremely proud of Rachel and all our other brilliant graduates who have been supporting people through such hard times in recent months”.
British Vogue features editor Olivia Marks told the BBC: “Quite early on once lockdown had been announced, Edward Enninful, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, was very keen to shine a spotlight on the millions of people who weren’t able to stay at home and were going out every day to do their jobs.
“It quickly became apparent that these were the everyday heroes that we were relying upon to get us through this pandemic. It became the cover story quite early on in our minds.
“We photographed lots of people from across London, shopkeepers, carers, teachers, cleaners – all of whom are in the portfolio. The ones we chose for the front cover we felt were beautiful, strong portraits but also represented not just the NHS but also the London Overground, transport, and supermarket assistants.
“It’s a first in many ways – there was no hair and makeup team, there was no fashion styling, it was very much come as you are. Also with last September’s Forces for Change issue we had not just celebrities on the cover, but this is certainly the first time we have had everyday people there.
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