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Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles and Teen Vogue are way more than meets the eye

The covers are the first for new (and first black) editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth

If strong is beautiful — and it is — how perfect is it to have two Olympic athletes on the cover of a major fashion magazine that targets teenage girls? That the athletes are Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, both pint-sized, muscled-up, amazing gold medalists who are black — that’s a potential game-changer for a number of reasons.

Reason 1: This is the official first cover from Elaine Welteroth, the new editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. She was appointed to the position in May. Welteroth is the first black woman to head the Conde Nast-owned magazine; she also penned the story about the Rio de Janeiro-bound gymnasts.

Reason 2: Douglas and Biles are neither size-0 Hollywood starlets nor catwalk models who are cut from the favored 6-feet tall, discovered-in-a-Ukrainian-middle school mold. And considering how many magazine publishers eschew featuring people of color on their covers, it will be interesting to dissect end-of-year newsstand sales figures for this particular issue.

Reason 3: The August cover is also an aesthetic departure for Teen Vogue, which tends to feature punchy cover lines, brightly colored clothing, simply styled hair and barely-there makeup. The Douglas and Biles covers feel like classic Vogue photography fare — gray photographer’s backdrop, simple black clothing, and edgy hair and makeup. Kudos to Welteroth and her team for giving these two women the A-list platform they deserve.

Jill Hudson is the senior style writer for the Undefeated. She is an evolved nerd, a caffeinated shoe fanatic, and a maker of long lists and perfect martinis.