• Friday, June 21, 2024

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The Vogue 25: Line-up of the powerhouse women of the year

From broadcasters to musicians, theatre directors to fashion designers and activists, meet the extraordinary women who make up this year’s Vogue 25

Her Majesty Queen Camilla watches a Theatre class with theatre director Indhu Rubasingham

By: easterneye.biz Staff

The annual Vogue 25 list has been a platform to honour remarkable women who are driving British society forward since its establishment in 2018. According to British Vogue, this year’s lineup is not only incredibly impressive but also features pioneering individuals achieving success on their own terms, including some renowned Asians. Among them is broadcaster Naga Munchetty, who has expanded her accomplishments to include advocating for women’s health. Then there’s Kruti Patel Goyal, the CEO of Depop, who is redefining the future of fashion. Also, part of this outstanding group is theatre director Indu Rubasingham, admired for her diverse programming.

Equally significant are the accomplished women who have taken on new roles after decades in the public eye. The former Duchess of Cornwall, now Queen Consort, is refocusing attention on important causes she has long championed. While Baroness Hallett has returned to the media spotlight in order to spearhead the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

Discover the complete lineup of extraordinary leaders and luminaries shaping today’s and tomorrow’s Britain.

Naga Munchetty, broadcaster

Naga Munchetty, the journalist renowned for her work on BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live, is not easily rattled. With a track record of delivering live reports on major events ranging from the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II to the apprehension of Saddam Hussein, she has demonstrated unwavering composure.

However, when confronted with the prospect of sharing her own distressing encounters with adenomyosis, a gynaecological health condition, she admits to feeling substantial nervousness. Despite these apprehensions, at 48 years old, she pressed forward with determination.

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Naga Munchetty (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Munchetty embarked on the creation of a radio show that intimately chronicled her personal battle with the painful ailment, a condition estimated to affect one in 10 women but is plagued by obscurity, with minimal references to it even on the NHS England website. She received a resounding and “amazing” response from her audience for her efforts.

Kruti Patel Goyal, CEO

After becoming Depop’s CEO in September 2022, Kruti Patel Goyal, previously Etsy’s chief product officer, outlined the resale platform’s aspiration to “reshape the future of fashion.” With a year’s progress, the executive of Canadian origin, now based in London, seems to be making significant headway.

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Kruti Patel Goyal, CEO Depop – Image Credit: depop.com

Following its acquisition by Etsy for $1.625 billion in 2021, Depop has breathed new life into over 25 million items. The preferred destination for Generation Z’s secondhand fashion preferences has revealed its aspirations to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, thereby promoting greater involvement in the circular economy.

Furthermore, the platform has made a commitment to uplift marginalised communities, as demonstrated by initiatives such as Now/Next, a programme that granted awards to six Black sellers in the previous year.

Indhu Rubasingham, theatre director

In 2012, Indhu Rubasingham’s appointment as the artistic director of the Kiln (formerly Tricycle) theatre marked her as the first woman of colour to lead a prominent London theatre. Over the subsequent 11 years, Rubasingham gained acclaim for her inclusive programming, prioritising the local community and emerging voices.

The upcoming departure of Rubasingham from Kiln in the coming spring takes on added significance, particularly given the vacant artistic director position at the National Theatre. Undoubtedly, Rubasingham’s future endeavours will play a crucial role in maintaining London’s reputation as a focal point for innovative performing arts.

Her Majesty Queen Camilla

In May, the former Duchess of Cornwall, now known as Her Majesty Queen Camilla, was officially crowned alongside her husband, King Charles. As she assumes her new position, the 76-year-old monarch is poised to further advance the causes she’s already been acclaimed for during her 18-year marriage to the King.

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Queen Camilla (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

She will also intensify her focus on areas that resonate with her passions, such as her commitment to the domestic violence organisation SafeLives, and her recently renamed book club, The Queen’s Reading Room.

Heather Hallett, chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry

Baroness Hallett’s dedication to truth has been unwavering. Her commitment to this principle has been evident throughout her career, starting in 1998 when she made history as the first woman to chair the Bar Council, and continuing through 2011 when she led the inquest into the 7 July bombings.

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Baroness Hallett, chair of the Covid-19 Inquiry, leaves Dorland House on June 14, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Belinda Jiao/Getty Images)

Now, as a 73-year-old, she has assumed the role of chair for the Covid public inquiry—a comprehensive investigation into the government’s management of the pandemic, encompassing readiness to matters like Partygate.

Raye, musician

The 25-year-old pop star has experienced an undoubtedly remarkable year in 2023. Beginning with her January accomplishment of securing her first No. 1 hit with “Escapism,” a song she co-wrote with artists like Beyoncé and Charli XCX. In May, she achieved another milestone by winning the esteemed Ivor Novello award for best contemporary song. In June, she captivated thousands of devoted fans as she graced the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage with her performance.

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Raye performs on the main stage at the ‘We Are Fabuloso’ festival during Brighton Pride on August 06, 2022 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Adding to her achievements, she received a nomination for the Mercury Prize in July. Notably, she has accomplished all of this as a newly independent artist, having made the decision to leave her record label back in 2021. Reflecting on her journey, the artist from south London shared, “Speaking out could have meant the end for me as an artist.” However, her decision has led to a legendary narrative within the industry.

Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth secretary-general

Baroness Scotland of Asthal possesses a CV that stands as a testament to her impressive and pioneering achievements. Hailing from Dominica and brought up in east London, her remarkable journey includes becoming the youngest and first Black woman to be appointed a QC in 1991. She later ventured into prominent ministerial positions during the previous Labour government, notably becoming the first woman to hold the title of attorney general.

With the ascent of His Majesty King Charles III to the throne, Scotland’s re-election to the position of Commonwealth secretary-general last year holds significant importance. In these pivotal times, she plays a central role in shaping the modern landscape of the Commonwealth.

Kylie Minogue, musician

Gen X and millennials have been under the sway of Kylie Minogue’s infectious disco-pop since at least 2001, but in 2023, the 55-year-old artist established herself as a bonafide Gen Z icon as well. She claimed the pinnacle of the UK charts with “Padam Padam,” a revamped rendition of Edith Piaf’s 1951 hit that has proven irresistible on TikTok and become an informal anthem for Pride celebrations worldwide. The excitement surrounding her upcoming 16th studio album, “Tension,” set to release on September 22, has reached a fervent pitch across generations. The same level of anticipation surrounds her forthcoming Las Vegas residency, scheduled to commence in November.

Raine Allen-Miller, director

Amid a year dominated by high-profile blockbusters, it’s a pleasant surprise that one of the most adored films of 2023 remains a grassroots indie creation by a debut filmmaker. Raine Allen-Miller’s “Rye Lane,” a heartfelt tribute to young romance and the locale of Peckham, gained immense affection from both reviewers and audiences.
Following its debut in cinemas in March, the Sundance-selected film earned comparisons to the likes of “Notting Hill” for its British romantic comedy charm. At 33 years old, having departed from art school, she is presently engaged in the development of her inaugural TV series along with two more feature films.

Louise Casey, member of the House of Lords

“Rigorous, stark, and unsparing” are the words used by Baroness Casey of Blackstock to characterise her highly critical and groundbreaking assessment of the Metropolitan Police. This extensive review was undertaken in the wake of officer Wayne Couzens’ murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021. The report, in which she labelled the UK’s largest police force as institutionally racist, homophobic, and sexist, was a resounding condemnation.

Within its pages, Baroness Casey unveiled a culture of denial within the Met, allowing predatory behaviour to thrive unchecked. She pointed out that the protection of women had been neglected. Now, more than a year later, it remains uncertain whether the transformative changes called for in the Casey Review will indeed be implemented within the Metropolitan Police.

Sandra Igwe, maternal health advocate

In the UK, the mortality rate during pregnancy and childbirth is four times higher for Black women than for white women. This alarming statistic gains even more significance due to the fact that, up until now, very little has been undertaken to address this issue. This is where the contributions of Sandra Igwe come to the forefront.

As the founder of The Motherhood Group and a former co-chair of the Birthrights Inquiry – a comprehensive examination of British maternity care that identified the presence of “systemic racism” impacting Black, Asian, and mixed ethnicity women – her efforts hold immense importance. In light of recent news revealing the government’s rejection of the Women and Equalities Committee’s recommendations to establish targets for eliminating racial disparities in maternal deaths, the significance of Igwe’s advocacy is more critical than ever before.

Carol Vorderman, broadcaster

At 62 years old, Carol Vorderman, hailing from Wales, considers herself “mischievous.” In recent times, she hasn’t shied away from stirring up controversy. The former Countdown presenter has emerged as a prominent and outspoken critic of the government on social media, amassing a substantial following.

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British television personality Carol Vorderman poses on the red carpet upon arrival for the UK premiere of the film “Top Gun: Maverick” in London, on May 19, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Through her Twitter account, she fearlessly holds those in positions of authority accountable for what she perceives as “blatant corruption.” Additionally, she shares information from Companies House regarding questionable businesses associated with Members of Parliament. Her audacious approach in challenging what she deems a “despicable government” has undoubtedly been one of the unexpected yet inspiring narratives of 2023.

Victoria Jenkins, fashion designer

Victoria Jenkins, the founder of Unhidden, challenges the misconception that Disabled individuals exclusively require leisurewear. As the pioneer behind Unhidden, the first adaptive brand to be featured at London Fashion Week, Jenkins has introduced a novel concept.

Unhidden specialises in sustainable fabrics, offering tailor-made eveningwear infused with adaptive components like discreet zippers and wrap sleeves. These design elements enhance the wearability for individuals with disabilities. Having personally navigated disability since her 20s, Jenkins has redefined the experience of dressing with a focus on ease and enjoyment. Her efforts align with a burgeoning adaptive fashion sector, projected to reach a value of $400 billion by 2026.

Jodie Comer, actor

Having celebrated her 30th birthday in March, the accomplished winner of both Bafta and Emmy Awards has swiftly augmented her collection with Olivier and Tony Awards. These accolades were earned for her remarkable performance in the one-woman production “Prima Facie.” In the play, she embodies a criminal defence barrister whose life is shaken by a sexual assault.

Initially staged in London’s West End in 2022 and subsequently making its way to Broadway in April, this production marked her return to live audience performances since her school days. It is evident that this successful theatre run on both sides of the Atlantic is merely the beginning of her theatrical journey.

Sarah Burton, fashion designer

In 2011, television audiences worldwide were captivated as they witnessed the grandeur of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, adorned with a nine-foot white satin-gazar train, as she united in matrimony with His Royal Highness Prince William. The gown, a creation of Sarah Burton, the creative director at Alexander McQueen, left millions swooning.

Fast forward twelve years, and now bearing the title of Her Royal Highness Princess of Wales, she graced Westminster Abbey for the coronation of King Charles. On this occasion, she donned another of Burton’s ethereal designs: an ivory crepe ensemble embellished with motifs of rose, thistle, daffodil, and shamrock. These motifs symbolised the unity of the four nations of the UK. In both instances, Burton’s expertise in dressing royalty stands undeniable, solidifying her position as the quintessential choice.

Eva Langret, director of Frieze London

As the 20th anniversary of Frieze approaches this October, Eva Langret is immersed in a state of enthusiasm. Since her assumption of the position of artistic director in 2019, she has been dedicated to enhancing the fair’s representation of “London’s art scene now.” Originating from Paris, Langret, the curator, has enacted changes that have diversified the fair’s team and improved opportunities for emerging and less-established artists.

Marking the significant occasion of its 20th anniversary, the fair will introduce the inaugural Modern Women section. This segment will focus on solo exhibitions dedicated to female talents, underscoring Langret’s commitment to inclusivity and innovation.

Alice Oseman, writer

Alice Oseman, the creator of the award-winning Netflix teen drama “Heartstopper,” has brought her webcomic and graphic novels of the same name to life, leaving an indelible impact with its profoundly joyful portrayal of queer love. The show has resonated deeply with audiences worldwide, evident as the first season secured a spot in the top 10 television shows on the streaming platform in 54 countries.

After a sun-soaked second series that propelled actors Kit Connor, Joe Locke, and Yasmin Finney to greater prominence, Oseman is now engrossed in crafting a third installment. Simultaneously, she’s gearing up for the release of the much-anticipated fifth volume of her bestselling book series. Beyond her creative work, Oseman, who identifies as asexual and aromantic, serves as an outspoken advocate for equal rights and representation.

Cora Corre, activist & model

Recognising her grandmother Vivienne Westwood ‘s enduring impact – a career that spanned decades, marked by being ahead of her time despite early ridicule – Cora Corré has been resolute in honouring Westwood’s legacy throughout 2023.

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Model and activist – Cora Corre (Image Credit: Instagram)

At 26 years old, Corré, also a model and activist, has taken up the mantle. She accomplished this by concluding the autumn/winter 2023 show in March wearing an emblematic Westwood bridal ensemble. Furthermore, she assumed leadership of The Vivienne Foundation, an initiative established to champion causes close to the heart of the anarchist designer, particularly those related to human rights and combatting climate change.

Corré’s inaugural campaign at the helm of the foundation focuses on a Stop War project in collaboration with the Refugee Council, War Child, and CAAT. This project strives to mitigate the effects of conflicts while raising awareness about governments’ roles in preventing them. In her steadfast commitment, Cora Corré ensures that Vivienne Westwood’s remarkable legacy endures.

Alva Claire, model
Alva Claire, a model who hails from south London and was raised there, nurtured a profound fascination with clothing during her upbringing. However, she encountered a void when it came to observing faces and bodies like hers in magazines. “Seeing yourself represented in spaces that you are not, whether that’s in fashion, film, or politics, does a lot for a person’s self-esteem and sense of belonging,” Claire said.

With her Jamaican American heritage and aged 31, she introduces body diversity to both catwalks and campaigns. Her presence has been impactful, featured in various endeavours ranging from Marina Rinaldi to Mulberry, Nike to Luar.

Tori Tsui, author & activist

Tori Tsui, a 29-year-old climate activist and author based in Bristol, originating from Hong Kong, emerges as a prominent youthful voice on the global stage in the fight to safeguard the planet. She emphasizes, “We need to stop blaming individuals for a crisis that was not created by sole individuals.” This perspective is central to her inaugural publication, “It’s Not Just You,” recently released.

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climate activist and author – (Image Credit: Instagram)

The book redefines eco-anxiety as a pressing mental health emergency and underscores that “there are actual systems that are making people unwell.” While luminaries like Stella McCartney, Billie Eilish, and Greta Thunberg have amplified her endeavours thus far, Tsui remains dedicated to upholding the movement as a collective endeavour. Expressing her determination, she said, “I don’t want to ever get to a point where the end goal of people’s liberation is to have just one person spotlighted.”

Marcia Kilgore, founder of Beauty Pie

Marcia Kilgore, a notable figure in the beauty realm, embarked on her journey as a facialist in New York, catering to an esteemed clientele that included A-listers. An influential trailblazer, she made her mark by sparking the spa craze of the 1990s through her revered brand, Bliss Spa. A serial entrepreneur, Kilgore identifies herself as an ingredient enthusiast with an instinctual knack for understanding people’s desires.

This skill has driven her to establish and divest from three additional highly successful ventures, among them FitFlop, Soap & Glory, and Soaper Duper. However, she maintains her hold on Beauty Pie, a London-based online beauty club that has achieved tremendous success. This innovative platform allows members to access luxury products at a fraction of their typical cost. When launched in 2016, Beauty Pie disrupted the industry. Its remarkable sales and growing membership have persevered through challenges including a pandemic and financial strain.

Penny Mordaunt, member of Parliament

Prior to King Charles’s coronation, few would have foreseen that Penny Mordaunt, the Leader of the House of Commons, would emerge as the unofficial standout of the event. At 50 years old, she held the notable responsibility of carrying the 17th-century Sword of State—an inaugural role for a woman. Her memorable presence left an indelible mark, largely attributed to the striking teal cape by Safiyaa and the headband crafted by milliner Jane Taylor that she sported.

The impact was so substantial that odds of her potentially becoming the next leader of the Conservative Party underwent a rapid reduction. Even Alastair Campbell, the forthright former Labour spin doctor, admitted to being “in awe” of Mordaunt. Unexpectedly, the sword has since become a captivating attraction at the Tower of London. As the prospect of the upcoming Tory leadership contest looms, potentially as early as the spring of 2024, there’s little doubt about whose name will dominate discussions.

Lila Moss, model
The featured cover star of British Vogue, despite having the privilege of accessing her supermodel mother Kate’s coveted vintage clothing assortment, consistently showcases a specific accessory both on the red carpet and the catwalk. The 20-year-old model, originally from London, lives with Type 1 diabetes. For this reason, she adorns herself with an Omnipod, an automated insulin delivery system, prominently displayed on her arm and thigh which helps her avoid giving herself daily injections.

Moss, renowned for her appearances in campaigns for brands such as Versace, Chloé, and David Yurman, employs her social media platforms to heighten awareness about the condition, which affects approximately 4.3 million individuals in the UK. Additionally, she advocates for greater accessibility to innovative diabetes technology that can significantly improve lives.

Emefa Cole, jewellery designer

The focal point of this year’s Met Gala was undoubtedly Michaela Coel, elegantly adorned in an embellished Schiaparelli gown with fully traceable, single-mine-origin West African gold. The mastermind behind these magnificently sized jewels is Emefa Cole, a designer of Ghanaian British origin.

Cole takes a significant stance on ethical sourcing of accessories, emphasising, “For a majority of people, jewellery is just a shiny piece of gold…But we need to think about where things come from.” Recognising her pioneering efforts in ethically sourced jewellery, the V&A appointed her as its inaugural curator of diaspora jewellery in September 2022.

Emily Bridges, cyclist

Professional cyclist Emily Bridges, driven by her initial aspiration to represent Great Britain at the 2024 Paris Olympics, never aspired to be a campaigner. However, everything changed in May this year. The British Cycling Federation enforced a ban on transgender athletes from the sport. Since then, the 22-year-old athlete from Wales has embraced a new mission: championing inclusion for herself and fellow transgender sportspeople.

Bridges is resolute in her belief that victory is attainable in the ongoing struggle, even though it has subjected her to “death threats.” Beyond the public eye, she’s contributing muscle samples to research at Loughborough University. This research seeks to definitively determine whether transgender athletes possess the “unfair advantage” that some assert. Looking ahead, her trajectory includes pursuing legal action to challenge the decision through the courts.

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