Judi Dench makes history as British Vogue's oldest ever cover star

(Nick Knight/Vogue)
(Nick Knight/Vogue)

Dame Judi Dench has become British Vogue’s oldest ever cover star.

The Oscar-winning actor has secured her first front page for the style bible’s June 2020 issue at the age of 85.

For her front page, Dench is photographed wearing a pink, floral silk organza Dolce & Gabbana trench coat, while further images inside the issue show the Skyfall star dressed in a cream silk Armani Prive tunic.

Dench was photographed just before lockdown, but the accompanying interview was carried out as she self-isolated at home in Surrey where she lives with her partner, 77-year-old local conservationist, David Mills.

Speaking to the magazine, Dench shut down any talk of retirement, joking: “No, no, no, no. Don't use that word. Not in this house. Not here. Wash your mouth out!”

She also said she doesn’t like to think about her age too much and when asked if she liked anything about being 85 she responded: “I don’t like it at all. I don’t think about it. I don’t want to think about it. They say age is an attitude.”

During the interview, Dench also discussed the coronavirus pandemic and urged people to look out for those who live alone.

“I am sure I feel like everyone else, such unprecedented times are quite hard to comprehend,” she explained.

“What is a good thing is that it has made people aware of the predicament of others who are completely alone. If a great deal of kindness comes out of this, then that will be a plus.”

Speaking of the magazine’s June 2020 cover star, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said: “Ever modest, Judi Dench is not a fan of the term national treasure.

Dame Judi Dench has become the oldest cover star of British Vogue (Nick Knight/Vogue)
Dame Judi Dench has become the oldest cover star of British Vogue (Nick Knight/Vogue)

“But treasure her we do. Now more than ever.”

Dench’s daughter, Finty Williams, also opened up about her mother’s debut for the publication, saying it mean “an awful lot to her”.

“This age thing, I think, affects very much how she feels about herself and this gave her just that little boost of confidence to make her go, ‘Oh, maybe I’m still OK,’” Williams said.

“Then of course after the photoshoot, she came back literally thinking she was Beyoncé.”

The title of British Vogue’s oldest cover star was previously held by Jane Fonda who graced the cover of its “Non-Issue” issue in 2019, which sought to dismiss age as a barrier holding women back, at the age of 81.

Speaking at the time, Enninful explained why it was so important for him to feature people of all ages, genders and ethnicities in the magazine.

“For me, promoting diversity in Vogue has never been solely about a person's ethnicity or gender,” he explained.

The images of Dame Judi Dench were taken before the UK lockdown (Nick Knight/Vogue)
The images of Dame Judi Dench were taken before the UK lockdown (Nick Knight/Vogue)

“It's about diversity across the board. Seeing the amazing array of women over 50 in this special edition proves that a person's age will always be a more intriguing, nuanced and inspiring factor than a simple number could ever suggest.”

You can read the full feature in the June issue of British Vogue, which is available via digital download and on newsstands Thursday 7 May.

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