Jourdan Dunn has scored the February 2015 cover of British Vogue. It's a professional coup for the top model to be sure, but the cover holds wider significance as Dunn is the first model of colour to cover to magazine alone in 12 years.
In 2014, 2012, and 2010 the magazine had exclusively white cover stars. Beyonce was the only person of colour to cover the magazine in 2013 (May issue), as was Rihanna in 2011 (November issue).
Most significantly, Dunn is the first black model to cover the magazine solo since Naomi Campbell in 2002. Vogue UK EIC Alexandra Schulman once defended the homogeneity of her cover stars thusly in an interview with BBC radio: "[She's] the most perfect girl next door, better than yourself. People always say, 'Why do you have thin models? That's not what people look like.' But nobody wants to see a real person on the cover."
The Telegraph reports:
The significance of her British Vogue cover will not pass her by - she has always been vocal about her experiences of racism in the industry, revealing that she has been turned away from castings because they "didn't want any more black girls", and that a white make-up artist once refused to do her make-up. She has also lent her support to Naomi Campbell and Iman's Balance Diversity campaign, which seeks to end racism in the modelling industry, saying "I want to talk about what goes on. A lot of people are scared to speak up."
"The people who control the industry … say if you have a black face on a magazine cover it won't sell, but there's no real evidence for that. It's lazy," she told The Guardian in 2014.
See the Vogue UK cover archive here.