HomeLifestyleFashionSinead Burke graces cover of British Vogue as one of five disabled...

Sinead Burke graces cover of British Vogue as one of five disabled stars

Activist Sinead Burke is one of five stars with disabilities gracing a series of covers for British Vogue’s May 2023 issues, alongside models Ellie Goldstein and Aaron Rose Philip, sign language performer Justina Miles, and actor Selma Blair.

The fashion magazine is focusing the new issues on the stories of 19 disabled people from across fashion, sport, creative industries and activism.

Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue, described the issue as “personal” as he lives with a chronic blood disorder and with visual and hearing impairments.

Burke, 33, is an advocate for disability and design, famed for her TED talk titled “Why design should include everyone”. She is the director of Tilting the Lens, a consultancy that aims to raise standards in accessibility.

The activist has appeared on the cover of Vogue before. In 2019, she became the first visibly disabled person to grace the cover of any Vogue magazine when she was a part of its “Forces for Change” September issue, which was guest-edited by the Duchess of Sussex.

Writing in the new issue, Burke said: “There is work to do and change will require a mindset shift and a collective effort. Accessibility and disability inclusion is everyone’s responsibility and opportunity. This is a movement, not a moment. And it involves all of us.”

In an appearance on Lorraine on Friday morning (21 April), Burke spoke about what appearing on the cover of the iconic fashion magazine meant to her.

“I have been interested in fashion for as long as I can remember, probably because as a disabled woman and particularly because as a little person, so much of what the world saw from me or made assumptions around what I could or couldn’t do was based on what I look like,” she said.

“Fashion was this vocabulary that gave me an opportunity to present a new narrative to the world and individuals. Looking at this cover feels incredibly surreal.”

She continued: “Visibility is incredibly important. What we know in the world is that conversations around disability are not amplified enough, often because we don’t know what words to use, we don’t know what to say.

“But actually, visibility and representation in rooms where decisions are made are even more meaningful because that’s about systemic change, ensuring something isn’t just a moment or one cover or one issue, but there’s actually learning.”

In her cover interview with British Vogue, Blair opened up about how she was initially advised by her doctor to keep her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis a secret.

The 50-year-old Hellboy star also recalled how “groups of friends and love interests lost interest” after she was diagnosed in 2018.

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