The American Society of Magazine Editors announced Tuesday that the cover of EW’s LGBT issue — featuring the namesake host of RuPaul’s Drag Race giving a fierce State of the Union address in front of a pair of American flags — has won the group’s Reader’s Choice Award for best cover of 2017.
The June 23, 2017 cover beat out 277 other finalists for the title, the winner of which was determined by a reader vote on ASME’s Facebook page. EW’s cover received more than 28,000 votes to secure a victory over the likes of Vogue‘s Jennifer Lawrence cover from September 2017 and The Hollywood Reporter‘s Oct. 18, 2017 cover featuring a razor-toothed drawing of Harvey Weinstein.
Under the creative direction of EW’s Tim Leong, the cover was shot by Irish fashion photographer Tony Kelly and designed by EW’s Keir Novesky. Stacey Pittman served as photo editor.
Two Drag Race graduates also contributed to the cover: Ru’s makeup was done by season 2’s Raven (credited as David Petruschin), and season 3’s Delta Work (credited Gabriel Villarreal) styled Ru’s hair.
“Our show exemplifies the movement of a bigger consciousness arising. Drag is part of that consciousness. It’s having fun and understanding who you really are, which is an extension of the power that created the whole universe. The idea of an identity, of shape-shifting and changing — it’s an extension of that,” RuPaul told EW for the cover story. “The expansion of Drag Race coincides with this expansion of the 21st century and who we, as humans on this planet, are going to be and what we are evolving to.”
“It doesn’t mean everybody’s going to be in drag. It just means that everybody is expanding their definition of who they are,” he continued. “Watching a drag queen who was bullied as a kid becoming a star on her own terms is a rush for a lot of people who watch our show because they, too, have those dreams, and they, too, have longed for something, but didn’t quite know what.”
All winners of ASME’s Best Cover Contest — including the Cover of the Year recipient, chosen by the group’s Board of Directors from 10 finalists selected by members — will be honored at the American Magazine Media Conference on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 in New York City.