Transgender Chelsea Manning in Vogue

Former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was sentenced to prison in 2010 for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks and released this year.
Former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was sentenced to prison in 2010 for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks and released this year.PHOTO: CHELSEA MANNING/INSTAGRAM

WASHINGTON • Chelsea Manning, this era's second-most infamous transgender woman, is not glamorous in the photo shoot for the September issue of Vogue.

The former army intelligence analyst, who was jailed for leaking troves of classified information to WikiLeaks, wears a retro red Norma Kamali one-piece swimsuit in Vogue. Her cropped strawberry blonde hair is windswept and wet, and other than what appears to be a bit of mascara and perhaps some lip balm, there is little evidence of make-up.

"Guess this is what freedom looks like," she said in social media posts that included a picture from the shoot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.

On social media last Friday, the photo and the article elicited comments both for and against Manning, who will turn 30 in December.

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She was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, when she was known as Bradley. She served seven years and twice tried to take her own life last year alone, before then-president Barack Obama commuted her sentence just days before he left office in January.

The accompanying story in Vogue is filled with detailed descriptions of the various ensembles Manning wears as she attends a literary party and converses on the banks of the Hudson River. She notes that she has a lot of fashion news to catch up on, thanks to her detention at Fort Leavenworth military prison.

This is a far cry from the haughty, hyper-feminine Hollywood unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2015, even though both were shot by Leibovitz.

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2017, with the headline 'Transgender Chelsea Manning in Vogue'. Print Edition | Subscribe