Harper's Bazaar (USA)



THE TERM ICON IS BY NOW BEYOND ICONIC. It’s one of those words that’s tossed around so regularly that it’s almost lost its meaning—which is the opposite of what an icon is supposed to be. Icons are supposed to stand for something. Icons are supposed to be the embodiment of ideas, aspiration­s, and values. Icons are supposed to be guiding lights. This issue explores what it means to be an icon in the making. All of the subjects in our cover portfolio are age 30 or under. It’s a demographi­c of people whose lives have been shaped by some very particular forces. If you’re 30 today, then you were born in the early ’90s, when the internet was nascent. You’re old enough to have witnessed 9/11 (and probably even watched it on TV), but you were not old enough to have been able to fully process it. When you were in your mid teens, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and a financial crisis were upending the world. You remember your early 20s well because they were captured (and filtered) on Instagram. And then a pandemic, climate collapse, movements for social justice, TikTok, vibes … That’s why people like the ones in this issue, who’ve embraced who they are and are eager to push the world forward, are so important. Icons today know how to lead but also make space for others to do the same. They’re driven to succeed, but they also invite others to share in their success. They’re kicking doors open but also making sure that everyone has an opportunit­y to walk through them. To be an icon in 2022 is to let go of the old definition­s of what it means to be an icon and invent your own.

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