Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been unveiled as Vanity Fair’s latest cover star, less than a week before she concludes her bid for reelection in New York’s 14th congressional district.
The cover image — and a series of additional pictures for the magazine’s December issue — was taken by Tyler Mitchell, who famously became the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of Vogue.
The December issue of Vanity Fair magazine. Credit: Tyler Mitchell/Vanity Fair
In an accompanying interview, Ocasio-Cortez discussed the pressures of the job and her political ambitions, while appearing to downplay reports about friction between her and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She also offered further details about her high-profile exchange with Rep. Ted Yoho, which saw the Republican politician apologize for verbally accosting her on the steps of the Capitol.
According to Vanity Fair contributor, journalist Michelle Ruiz, the New York congresswoman recounted telling Yoho the next day: “You do that to me again, I won’t be so nice next time.”
Ocasio-Cortez also used the interview to reveal threats to her safety made since she became the youngest woman ever to serve in congress. The 31-year-old said that her home address had been published online and that authorities had reported death plots against her.
The interview is accompanied by a series of images by photographer Tyler Mitchell. Credit: Tyler Mitchell/Vanity Fair
“I used to wake up in the morning and literally get a stack of pictures that were forwarded by Capitol police or FBI,” she is quoted as saying. “Like, ‘These are the people who want to kill you today.’
“There have been many times, especially in the first six months, where I felt like I couldn’t do this, like I didn’t know if I was going to be able to run for reelection,” she added. “There was a time where the volume of threats had gotten so high that I didn’t even know if I was going to live to my next term.”
Beyond politics, the in-depth interview sees Ocasio-Cortez discussing her decision to buy a French bulldog and wondering whether to “freeze my eggs.” In an accompanying video, she revealed her daily routine, from having peanut butter on her toast in the morning to unplugging with reality TV before bed.
One of the industry’s most in-demand names since his historic Vogue shoot with Beyoncé in 2018, Mitchell is known for his dreamy take on fashion photography. In July, he published the series “I Can Make You Feel Good,” which showed “what a Black utopia looks like or could look like,” he wrote in the accompanying book.
“I make very little distinction between my commissioned and my personal works, using them both as an opportunity to create this utopian universe,” the Georgia-born photographer wrote.
Mitchell’s photos show Ocasio-Cortez posing in a range of outfits, including shoes by Christian Louboutin, a dress by Wales Bonner and suits by Loewe, Carolina Herrera and Christopher John Rogers. Another image shows a photo shoot taking place on the streets of the Bronx, where Ocasio-Cortez grew up.
Describing her as a “beauty influencer,” Ruiz’s article says that Ocasio-Cortez’s “squad” — the name given to the quartet formed with fellow Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — has used lipstick as “a show of strength” in the House.
The New York congresswoman told Vanity Fair that she had intentionally worn a bold shade of red lipstick ahead of her now-viral response to Yoho in Congress, whereby she challenged him for sexism and, allegedly, calling her a “f**king bitch” (an accusation he denied, while nonetheless apologizing for the “abrupt manner of the conversation”).
“(Pressley) was like, ‘That’s when I knew she didn’t come to play,'” Ocasio-Cortez is quoted as saying. “I had a little war paint on that day, for sure.”