Ariel Nicholson just made history in Vogue.
On Thursday, the storied fashion publication unveiled the cover for its legendary September issue, which was shot in the magazine's 1 World Trade Center Office. That said, while the "Generation America"-themed issue featured a cast of high-profile models — including Bella Hadid, Precious Lee, Kaia Gerber, Anok Yai, Sherry Shi, Yumi Nu and Lourdes Leon — Nicholson's appearance was particularly notable as it makes her the first openly trans model to cover AmericanVogue.
Appearing in both Christopher John Rogers and Rick Owens, the 20-year-old stunned in the Ethan James Green-lensed photos. But even so, the real highlight was the interview in which she celebrated the big moment while also candidly reflecting on the "limits of representation" when it comes to visibility of marginalized identities.
"I've been put in this box, 'trans model'," as Nicholson said. "Which is what I am — but that's not all that I am."
Nicholson went on to acknowledge that "it's a big deal being the first trans woman on the cover of Vogue. However, she noted that "it's also hard to say exactly what kind of big deal it is when the effects are so intangible," before adding that "there are limits to what 'representation' can do."
Granted, the model already has quite the impressive resume, as she first came into the spotlight at age 13 when she starred in PBS' Growing Up Trans documentary. Nicholson then went on to be signed to DNA Models and began walking for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu, as well as posing for outlets like Love magazine. However, American Vogue is undoubtedly one of her biggest gigs that places her alongside Valentina Sampaio and Laverne Cox, who were the first trans models to cover Vogue Paris and British Vogue.
Check out the full interview and photo spread, here.
Photo via Getty / Ben Gabbe
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