For the first time in its 29-year history, Allure has cast a man on its cover. Billy Porter is the face of the magazine’s February 2020 “Art of Beauty” issue, but editor-in-chief Michelle Lee wants to make it clear that he was not chosen for his gender. “We’ve had many conversations in our office about the so-called trend of ‘genderless’ beauty,” she writes in her editor’s letter. “But a trend implies a flash-in-the-pan birth and death. Plus, beauty (and beauty products) have never had a gender. The LGBTQ+ community has a long, rich history of artistry and experimentation, often using hair and makeup and clothing as their tools.”
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"I was in kindergarten, being taken to this white man in this big building to just talk to him for an hour every Wednesday after school. That's one of the first memories I have as a child, that something's wrong with you and you need to be fixed based on ‘You're not masculine enough.' I carried that with me for my whole life until, like, two and a half minutes ago. You know?" ⠀ ⠀ @allure February 2020 "The Art of Beauty" Issue⠀ Photographer: @benhassett⠀ Stylist: @nicolaformichetti⠀ Makeup: @peterphilipsmakeup⠀ Grooming: @Melissa.dezarate⠀ Manicure: @naominailsnyc⠀ Story by: @smashfizzle
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To get to the other side and have this chance, and have it working out is a gift and a blessing. I’ve made some statements on the red carpet, I’ve worked with @taylorswift, I’ve started directing, I’ve booked parts in movies that even three years ago would have seemed impossible. I had no idea any of this was in reach nor that it would taste so good. To have @poseonfx, among many things, come along and crossover into the mainstream where it gave me the space to just be myself as a human being is a gift. It’s God’s gift. That’s what’s been so special to me, that all of this has happened as a result of me being my authentic self. That is a surprise and a gift, and I’m very pleased. Thank you @vogue | @britishvogue for speaking with me exclusively about my journey. It is the gift that keeps me alive. Here’s to dreaming and believing . . Photography by @shavonne.wong Style by @sammyratelle Grooming by @lasonyagunter Styling Assistants @ashleydai1 @alexandra.bucokova Wearing @landerosnewyork Shoes by @gucci Eyewear #vintage
So we hereby dedicate this issue to the inspiring, ever-shifting art of beauty.
One person who seems like the living embodiment of that is our cover star, Billy Porter. In all of its 29 years and 345 issues, Allure has never featured a man on its cover — until today. So I’m thrilled to have the Pose star as our first.
After decades of performing, the trailblazing actor is now a household name at age 50, and finally being recognized far and wide for his talent (in 2019, he became the first openly gay man to win an Emmy for leading actor in a drama).
It is, however, heartening that the walls are coming down in the mainstream, with stars like A$AP Rocky showing off his nail art on Instagram, Daniel Kaluuya wearing Fenty Beauty foundation to the Oscars, and Ezra Miller wearing the Moncler puffer-dress to his movie premiere.
After all, having the freedom to express yourself is art we can all appreciate.