Screenshot: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott (British Vogue/Condé Nast)

There must be royalty inside her DNA, because another queen is taking over England; American royalty Oprah Winfrey is continuing her British invasion (which began at May’s royal wedding), appearing now as cover star of the August 2018 issue of British Vogue. The media mogul—described aptly as a “global powerhouse”—looks absolutely regal on the pages of the famed magazine, styled for the shoot by good friend and editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

From the cover, Queen O gazes out at us wearing a romantically ruffled, custom-made ivory taffeta gown by Stella McCartney, which set off her brown skin to perfection, paired with white-and-yellow-diamond and emerald earrings by Buccellati (also a favorite of Rihanna, who recently wore their jewelry to Virgil Abloh’s debut for Louis Vuitton).

Inside the issue, Oprah’s larger-than life presence is taken to new heights, wearing made-to-order creations by Erdem and Alexander McQueen with jewel-embellished, elaborate updos created by O’s key hairstylist Nicole Mangrum and British master Malcolm Edwards. Makeup was by frequent favorite celebrity face-painter, Derrick Rutledge.


But even at her most glamorous, Oprah’s conversation with writer Decca Aitkenhead is not all playing dress up. One of the world’s biggest influencers also discusses race, feminism, and her dress for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry—which was almost a royal faux pas, as Vogue reported:

Two days before the wedding, Winfrey looked at a photo of the cream dress she had commissioned from Stella McCartney and realised it “looked white, not cream. I Googled, ‘Can you wear white to a wedding? Answer: ‘No, don’t risk it.” In the end, McCartney worked round the clock to remake it in pink, to headline-grabbing effect.

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And for those of us who remember catching a glimpse of O rocking to the words of Bishop Curry’s fiery homily that day, she admits to being deeply moved. “It left me feeling that anything is possible through the power of love. Reverend Curry was right!”

In fact, it’s the lack of love in the political arena that keeps O—a steadfast Obama supporter during his two presidential terms—from tossing her hat into the ring for her own much-speculated run, as she tells Vogue:

In that political structure—all the non-truths, the bullshit, the crap, the nastiness, the backhanded backroom stuff that goes on—I feel like I could not exist. I would not be able to do it. It’s not a clean business. It would kill me.

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But in an era of not only grimy politics, but #MeToo and #Times Up, Oprah isn’t allowing any societal darkness to dim her light. As she reminds us with every “What I Know for Sure” column in her ubiquitous magazine and each “Super Soul Sunday” on her network, defying the darkness is the best defense we have.

People talk about “these are such dark times,” but what if we shift the paradigm? Because I see it differently ... I see, “Isn’t this remarkable that we’re waking up?” For years, women have endured craziness. This is what’s happening to people. They’re allowing themselves to not just become corroded, but to become hysterical. You’ve got to lean to the happiness.

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The Glow Up tip: Oprah’s full interview is available to read in British Vogue’s August issue, which is out on newsstands July 6.