Under the leadership of Karla Martinez de Salas, Vogue Mexico and Latin America has released some memorable and at times groundbreaking covers. There was the issue starring actor Yalitza Aparicio (Jan. 2019), the one fronted by a group of Afro-Dominican models sporting their natural hair (Sept. 2019) and the one with Paloma Elsesser wearing Chanel on the beach (April 2019). The magazine has made a considered effort to spotlight talent from the region — and for its latest edition, it's focusing on two of the biggest stars to come out of Puerto Rico: artist Bad Bunny and model Joan Smalls.
I will say that yes, I'm absolutely biased when I say I adore this cover. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Smalls is my favorite model. (I made that very clear in my intro post for this very website, because I'm nothing if not committed to my brand. And that brand is being from Puerto Rico.) I've been listening to YHLQMDLG, Bad Bunny's latest album, pretty much non-stop since it dropped last month. (Stream it on Spotify!) So yeah, you could say I was excited when the images dropped.
Vogue Mexico and Latin America posted the joint cover on Thursday afternoon. The accompanying caption explains, in Spanish, how the photo shoot happened in early March and how now, the team looks back on the memory of being on set as motivation for when they're able to come together once again and create something special (since, right now, it's not possible, given the worldwide pandemic.)
"At this difficult moment we're facing globally, a photo shoot like this doesn't seem possible," it reads (translated roughly by me). "We're sharing this from our homes, an issue that could feel parallel to reality, as things have changed in a matter of weeks, days. Still, it means a lot to us. It's our motor as a team to see a future (not too distant) in which we can bring you these stories, from any place in Mexico and Latin America."
And you know what? At a time when I feel scared, when I worry about both my current city and the beautiful island I grew up on, one that has already been through so much, this cover brought me joy. A lot of it. So I need to share it with all of you.
You can see all the images from the shoot, photographed by Gorka Postigo, and read the accompanying cover story, written by Atenea Morales de la Cruz in Spanish, on Vogue Mexico and Latin America's website. Apparently (and by that, I mean according to Martinez de Salas's Instagram), another April 2020 cover starring Smalls and a Colombian music star will be dropping soon; truly, I don't know what I did to deserve this.
If you need me, I'll be listening to "Yo Perreo Sola" for the thousandth time in self-isolation.