With its July 2020 issue, British VOGUE set out to celebrate the millions of UK citizens who went to work in the middle of the pandemic so that everyone could continue their everyday lives. To honor the essential workers, the fashion magazine put three of them on its cover. A London Overground train driver, an east London midwife, and a King’s Cross supermarket assistant will all be featured.
British VOGUE editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said that the magazine decided to profile the trio to pay homage to their “bravery and dedication to helping others.”
“This chapter in history has seen a society shift its attention onto some of the people in this country who are not usually afforded the spotlight,” Enninful explained.
Anisa Omar, 21, a supermarket assistant in King’s Cross
Anisa has been working at Waitrose in King’s Cross for a year, while she studies her second year of Business Management at university.
She lives in Islington with her parents and three siblings and said: ‘Before the pandemic, people would look at us as service assistants – we’re there to show them where the eggs are or if they want to complain about something.
‘But now they’re a lot more understanding. They understand that we’re here all the time, and they don’t have to leave their houses. People are a lot nicer, they’re warmer.’
The student was hailed on Twitter for her beauty and make-up skills as she couldn’t have a make-up artist due to COVID-19, and a local Waitrose customer said she sees her every week and ‘assumed she was a model’.
Narguis Horsford, a London overground train driver
Narguis has worked for TFL for 10 years and driven London Overground trains for five, covering the route between Willesden Junction and Stratford, and Gospel Oak to Barking.
She lives alone in Bounds Green, north London, and has to get up early as some of her shifts start at 1:30 am.
Despite being on the front line and having to isolate herself from her grandmother, she doesn’t feel nervous about her job.
She’s based at a depot in Willesden Junction, north-west London, and drives two routes: Stratford to Richmond/Clapham Junction and Gospel Oak to Barking.
She said: ‘I don’t feel anxious about going to work, but I still have to distance myself from my family because, obviously, I’m out here and I’m on the front line. They do worry, especially my grandmother. This has certainly shown us that life is short. And we can’t take anything for granted. I can’t see myself doing anything else.’
Rachel Millar, 24, a community midwife in East London
Image credits: Vogue
Rachel has worked as a community midwife at Homerton Hospital, in east London, for three years.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Cookstown, she lives in Leyton with her friend and graduated from the Uni of East Anglia in 2017 with a degree in midwifery.
Rachel was inspired to learn more about birth after seeing the lambing season at her grandparents’ farm.
Speaking of the kindness she has witnessed lately, she said: ‘One of the hardest moments for me during the pandemic was when I had my bike stolen.
‘But, within a few hours, a friend who also works at Homerton Hospital had raised over £500 online to help get me back on the road. Another colleague tweeted the story and within an hour, a local company had donated a brand new electric bike.’
Rachel’s social media shows she has run marathons for Shelter, is close to her grandfather and she also loves traveling, having recently visited Sri Lanka and South Africa.