The 2023 ICONS portfolio, photographed by celebrated international photographer Mario Sorrenti, spotlights 14 global trailblazers who are shaping the conversation right now in the worlds of fashion, art, film, music and activism. Led by cover stars Doja Cat, Paul Mescal and Kendall Jenner, who appear on the September covers of the U.S. newsstand edition, available August 29, the subjects haven’t just excelled in their respective fields, but have blown them wide open—and have created space for others to do the same.
The 2023 ICONS are passionate visionaries who captivate us, connect us, entertain us, move us, stoke our obsession, and inspire us with the urgency they bring to their work. They not only speak to this moment, they are also helping to define it and give it meaning. They’ve each made their marks — and some of them might be making history. But most importantly, they all understand what can happen when our eyes, hearts, minds, and energies are all pointed in the same direction.
On whether she thinks she’s worthy of her icon status: “I don’t. I think I deserve love and respect from the people that I love and respect back—and I guess respect means different things to some people. I put myself out there on social media and TV. I shoot my image out onto these screens. But I don’t really put myself out there in real life. I don’t go to clubs. I stick to creating.”
On her new single “Attention,” which includes her rapping: “It’s kind of an intro to what’s to come. This new album is more introspective, but I’m not leaning so hard into that to where it becomes boring. So I want to give stories and bops. It’s a nice mixture of both. I think this project is a really fun canvas for me to play with my rap skills and talk about what’s going on in my life. But I’m not abandoning who I was and what I know about pop and singing and that aspect of music.”
On the famous cat prosthetics she wore to this year’s Met Gala: “Yes. I said, ‘I want to be a humanoid cat.’”
On the shock reactions she receives when pushing style boundaries like shaving her head or eyebrows: “My theory is that if someone has never met me in real life, then, subconsciously, I’m not real to them. So when people become engaged with someone they don’t even know on the internet, they kind of take ownership over that person. They think that person belongs to them in some sense. And when that person changes drastically, there is a shock response that is almost uncontrollable. …I’ve accepted that that’s what happens. So I put my wigs on and take them off. I shave my head or my eyebrows. I have all the freedom in the world.”
On the kinds of projects she’ll pursue next, including acting: “There are other kinds of projects I want to branch out into. I want to make clothing, dabble in makeup. I want to explore acting.”
“I would love to do movies that I believe in. I would have to stop the music for a minute. But I would be down to immerse myself in acting for a certain period of time. I love comedies and action films. I want to learn martial arts and be in a film like John Wick.”
On creating room for love in her life: “I love love. I’m possibly a serial dater. I definitely have had that in me a little bit. But right now I’m in a different place in my life where I am very committed and very much in love in a different way than before. I think I’ve evolved. I’m learning to love myself, so the way that I love other people is very different. I don’t feel like a lost little teen. I feel like a woman who is coming into her own.”
[Photo Credit: Mario Sorrenti for Harper’s Bazaar Magazine]
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