MM Exclusive: A BTS Peek Into Global Star, Oprah Winfrey’s First Indian Cover!

Prashansa Daniell , 12 Dec 2018

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“What I strive for is self-actualisation. And I want to help both women and men see and experience that for themselves. That’s my ultimate goal: self-actualisation. And I want that for everybody. I don’t want to just be empowered; I want to be actualised, actually empowered.” @oprah in conversation with @supriya.dravid for @elleindia’s December cover story. @oprah is seen here with photographer @markseliger’s goldendoodle Willie Seliger . Velvet kaftan, @sabyasachiofficial. Gold and diamond earrings, @sabyasachijewelry. Silver ring, @anitadongre Fine Jewellery. Glasses, Winfrey’s own . 📸: @markseliger 👗: @malini_banerji Writer: @supriya.dravid 💇: @nicolemangrumhair 👨‍🎨: @derrickrutledgemakeupartist 💅: @nailsbymarysoul/Dior Beauty using Dior Vernis Set Design: @toddsets/@themagnetagency Production: @agpnyc Assisted by: @johnkelseyphoto and Davis Mccutcheon (photography) Fashion Editor: @rahulvijay1988 Fashion Intern: @aparnaphogat Flying partner: @singaporeair . #ELLEvate #BeMoreELLE #ELLEDecember #anniversaryissue #oprah #oprahwinfrey

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When ELLE India put up a sneak-peek of their December cover star on their Instagram feed a couple of weeks ago, we didn’t know just how mesmerised we were gonna be, right there, on our Instagram feed. They released photos of the legendary, Oprah Winfrey and TBH, all of Team MM was in awe. We were fortunate enough to get in on some exclusive details thanks to the Editor-In-Chief of ELLE India, Supriya Dravid and Malini Banerji, Fashion Director of ELLE India about working with the iconic Oprah Winfrey! Keep scrolling to read about their life-altering experience:

Supriya Dravid

Editor-In-Chief, ELLE India

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Back to regular scheduled programming

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1) What made you think of Oprah Winfrey as your cover star to end the year?

Oprah has been a role model for me. Growing up in India in the mid-1990s, she opened up our universe a great deal with The Oprah Winfrey Show. To me, Oprah is an emotion. She is one of those rare single-moniker icons who is synonymous with strength, passion, optimism and above all kindness. Why end of the year? It is an honour to have Oprah on our cover to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary Issue of ELLE India. It is a moment. At ELLE, we aim to push the envelope with something a little more extraordinary everyday. While we can happily succumb to the tried and tested, how does a magazine grow if it doesn’t shake you up a little bit. How does a magazine serve as a catalyst of change if we don’t make our readers rejoice in the unfailing power of WONDER. The very thrill of people asking us, How, how, how did we manage to get her – what a rush!. The fact that people can engage, question and celebrate alongside us about having Oprah on our cover  — it is the very first time she has graced any Indian magazine’s cover – is an indescribable feeling. It pushes us to dream bigger and beyond our wildest imagination.

2) What was your experience like behind-the-scenes with her? She has successfully showcased her real self onscreen so effortlessly, was it the same when you met her?

Oprah is heaven. There is no other way to explain this. She is exactly how she appears onscreen. Charming, witty, kind, and oh my god, so much fun. She has an amazing grace that is rare to find. If I were to use the words hashtag blessed, it would be the moment we managed to spend two blissful days with her in New York. Meeting and working with Oprah is life-altering. Something shifts inside you, and I learnt a whole lot of life truths just spending time with her. But what sets her in a league of her own is that she is never in a hurry, and she really listens to you. And she will deliver what she promised you. There is no shortchanging, and no compromise. She is truly present in the moment giving you 200 percent. That is a great lesson.

Malini Banerji

Fashion Director, ELLE India

1) What was the vibe you were going for with Oprah’s styling? What was your mood board like?

Since it is our 22nd-anniversary issue with Oprah, we wanted to celebrate Indian designers. In terms of mood, we wanted to keep it very classic, focus on portraits, and work creatively on the before form representing India. When you have someone like Oprah, the shoot will eventually revolve around her and everything else is secondary. That’s the kind of personality she is.

We shortlisted a list of designers who customised looks specifically for the shoot…some of the best looks ever!

2) The styling looks flawless! But were there any challenges you faced while choosing what to style her with?

We were lucky to have a fantastic lineup of designers who customised designs and looks for the shoot: Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliaini, Gaurav Gupta, Amit Aggarwal, Anita Dongre, Rahul Mishra to name a few. The mood boards were ready along with final sketches from the designers by end July. Oprah and her wonderful team were very accommodating and gave us time a day prior to the shoot for fittings. A few looks worked, there were some which were Oprah’s favourites and a few required tweaking. Ms. Winfrey deeply appreciates Indian craftsmanship. The whole process was a pleasure.

3) Did Oprah have any input in the styling process?

Yes, Ms. Winfrey was clear that she wanted to wear looks that resonated with Indian designs and craftsmanship. She definitely wanted to wear a saree.

We can only imagine how incredible this experience would have been. So thank you, ELLE India, for digitally inching us closer to this global icon! Are you gonna grab a copy of their December issue soon? Do let us know in the comments below.

Follow @missmalinifashion and @missmalinibeauty on Instagram for more.

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