HomeBBC NEWSEntertainmentEdward Enninful: Vogue editor says losing eyesight is his biggest fear

    Edward Enninful: Vogue editor says losing eyesight is his biggest fear


    The editor-in-chief of British Vogue has said that losing his sight is his greatest fear.

    Edward Enninful has had poor vision for most of his life and has had four surgeries in recent years for problems such as retinal detachment.

    This required him to spend weeks at a time looking at the floor and keeping his head down.

    In an interview with BBC News, Enninful also revealed that he hadn’t spoken to his father in nearly 15 years.

    The magazine editor, whose autobiography will be released next week, also said he worked for 14 years on an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program.

    That’s my biggest fear,” Enninful said when asked if he was afraid of losing his eyesight.

    “My eyesight was never very good anyway. I wore minus 10 glasses all the time, and I had four retinal detachments [that required] surgery at a time. Then three weeks of looking at the floor in a dark room without lifting my head. Yes, it was very intense mentally.

    “But what I also learned is …… you don’t need perfect vision to create. You don’t need 20/20 vision to see images. That’s the irony of it: even though I have poor eyesight, I I’m still able to create images that people seem to resonate with.”

    Image caption,Enninful, pictured with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, has had poor vision for much of his life

    Enninful also suffers from thalassemia, which often causes severe pain, for which he received several blood transfusions before coming to the UK from Ghana at the age of 13.

    In Ghana, his mother ran a successful tailoring business and his father was in the army, but due to political unrest, the family decided to leave.

    While his mother was in Ghana for a while, Enninful and his five siblings moved to Vauxhall, south London, to live in his aunt’s small apartment. His father spent three years seeking asylum.

    At the age of 16, stylist Simon Foxton spotted Enninful on the London Underground and said he had the potential to be a model.

    Encouraged by fellow model and future director Steve McQueen, he enrolled at Goldsmiths University. But by then, he was working as a senior at iD magazine.

    After admitting to his father that he had been skipping school to pursue his fashion dreams, he kicked him out of the house. They didn’t speak for 15 years, but have now reconciled.

    Enninful also went through a bout of depression and spent 14 years in the AA program.

    “I found a partnership [in AA]. I found that everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter if you’re the head of a company or a person sleeping on the street. It just made everyone equal,” he says.

    “It gets really bad because imagine my situation, you know – I lost a home, which was Africa, and then came to England. And then I lost a second home when I got kicked out. Then I got into the gay scene thinking I’d found my tribe and got rejected many more times.”

    Image caption,Enninful, pictured with husband Alec Maxwell, has been editor-in-chief of British Vogue since 2017

    In February, Enninful married his longtime partner, creative director Alec Maxwell.

    In September 2019, the Duchess of Sussex was asked to edit the British edition of Vogue, and Enninful describes her as “an extraordinary editorial partner” in his book A Visible Man.

    When asked about reports that Meghan had asked for a 24-hour delay in publication so that the American press could see her special edition first, he said, “No, no, no, no, no, no. …… No one told us what to do. …… No one really interfered. us.”

    There has long been talk in the fashion and media industries that he is most likely to succeed another Brit, Anna Wintour, as editor of the U.S. edition of Vogue when she steps down. Wintour, 72, has held the post since 1988.

    People like to speculate about my relationship with Anna, but I’m happy with what I’m doing now,” Enninful said. …… But you know, you never know what the future holds.”

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