Over the weekend, the Sussex Royals Instagram account posted a picture of Meghan Markle’s guest-edited September Vogue cover. The news was met with delight, by most — but now, Meghan is being accused of copying her Vogue cover from a book she helped produce: The Game Changers, an Australian essay collection originally published in 2016. Apparently, Meghan’s Vogue cover has key similarities to the Game Changers cover art, and the collection’s authors are less than thrilled.
Speaking to Daily Mail, co-author Samantha Brett called Meghan’s Vogue cover “very flattering,” but ultimately thinks the Duchess has crossed a line, given how closely her Vogue cover mirrors that of Brett’s Game Changers. “She obviously likes our concept,” Brett told Daily Mail. “I love Meghan and am a huge fan, but if what people are alerting us to is true, then it’s extremely disappointing.”
In the hours after Meghan posted her Vogue cover to Instagram, Brett claims that people have been reaching out to her and co-author Steph Adams to point out the similarities. Further compounding suspicion is the fact that Meghan was involved in The Game Changers’ creation and approved the cover art at the time. The book features essays from 40 “women at the top,” one of which came from Meghan herself.
For reference, this is the Game Changers cover:
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Thank you gorgeous @nikkikphillips for all your support! Head to bynikkiphillips.com for the full story behind #thegamechangersbook 🙌 #Repost @nikkikphillips with @repostapp ・・・ A must read!!! Was lucky enough to interview the talented authors @samantha_brett and @stephadams2012 about the success of their book #thegamechangers 📓An incredible collection of short essays from some of Australia's favourite #bossladies and some international icons also. Check it out 📍link in bio. #whoruntheworldgirls
And this is Meghan’s September British Vogue cover:
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We are proud to announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex is the Guest Editor for the September issue of @BritishVogue. For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective. They have named the issue: “Forces for Change” For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective. The women on the cover include: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington We are excited to announce that within the issue you’ll find: an exclusive interview between The Duchess and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, a candid conversation between The Duke of Sussex and Dr Jane Goodall, inspirational articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others. Equally, you’ll find grassroots organisations and incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better. • “Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying “Yes!” – and to Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” – The Duchess of Sussex #ForcesForChange
While these two covers certainly share similarities, it’s questionable whether they’re similar enough to warrant real concern. One cannot trademark using black and white photos or a grid pattern, and it’s notable that the style of photography and affect of the subjects presented are significantly different. As for the similarity in subject matter, Meghan has a long history of supporting female empowerment, and it’s wholly unsurprising that she would focus her Vogue issue around it — particularly given her 2018 comments that fashion is all about empowering women.
It’s unclear whether Brett or Adams are planning further action at this time, or whether this will die down on its own. It’s possible Meghan was inspired by the artwork of the 2016 collection, but it’s equally possible that she and Vogue team landed on this design without ever having Game Changers in mind.