British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

Edward Enninful: ‘Racism is part of my life whether I like it or not,' says British Vogue editor

The editor says he learned early on in his career 'if you were black you have to work 10 time as hard'

Sophie Gallagher
Friday 07 August 2020 12:19
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British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful has said “racism is a part of my life whether I like it or not”, in a new interview.

Enninful, who recently spoke about a racial profiling incident at the Condé Nast headquarters in London, became the publication’s first black editor-in-chief in 2017.

The 48-year-old told the FT on Friday that he learned early on in his career that “if you were black you have to work 10 time as hard”.

“I did that from studying more, looking at more images, owning my craft and educating myself,” he says.

The Ghanaian-born editor, who was raised in west London, recently read the memoirs of Andre Leon Talley, the former American Vogue creative director and resonated with much of his experience in the fashion industry.

Speaking about the diversification of the industry, he said: “It’s not enough putting an image on your Instagram feed, or showing a picture in a magazine or shoot. The infrastructure behind the scenes has to change.”

In a tweet shared on 15 July, Enninful shared an experience of racial profiling at his office. In the tweet, he said: “I’m a black man – this isn’t the first time I’ve been profiled and it won’t be the last.”

In a 2018 interview, Enninful said that he had previously tried to “ignore” racism. “I would have been so nervous. But at my age I feel like I have to voice it so people don’t have to go through it and think everything is fine.”

British Vogue’s September issue features footballer Marcus Rashford, alongside 20 activists. The cover was the first in the publication’s 104-year history to be shot by a black male photographer.

Rashford campaigned for the government to continue giving food vouchers to families with school children over the summer holidays, forcing a Downing Street U-turn earlier this year.

Other activists featured in the issue include Adwoa Aboah and Angela Davis.

Enninful said of the magazine, which is available to buy on Friday 7 August: “For me, I knew that with everything that had gone on, our interpretation had to be about activism and education.”

The September issue of the magazine in 2019 was edited by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

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