Jill Biden has only been First Lady for a matter of months but she has already achieved a coveted honor that her predecessor Melania Trump was never afforded: a glamorous Vogue cover shoot, complete with a lengthy profile praising her as ‘a goddess’ and ‘a joy multiplier’.
The 70-year-old receives the all-star treatment in the August issue of the fashion publication, which features a gushing 6,000-word profile about her, as well as several dazzling photos taken at the White House by famed photographer Annie Leibowitz, who also snapped former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton when they posed for their own covers of the magazine.
Jill put on a fashionable display for her shoot, modeling a $2,690 navy blue flowered Oscar de la Renta gown for the cover photo, which appears to have been taken on the Truman Balcony of the White House.
In the 6,000 word profile, Biden is described in saccharine terms: ‘a joy multiplier,’ ‘a goddess,’ ‘driven, tireless, effortlessly popular, but also someone who reminds us of ourselves,’ and ‘a very stylish person who even in jeans and a cashmere sweater over an untucked chambray looks totally pulled together.’
Her appearance on the cover of the magazine sees her following in the footsteps of her close friend Michelle, who posed on the front of Vogue three times during her husband Barack Obama’s presidency – a point that sparked fury from Donald Trump and the Republicans, who questioned why Melania was never given the honor during her time as First Lady.
Jill’s debut cover story was posted online on Tuesday morning and is devoid of any scandal or criticism. In it, Biden talks about her job as a teacher, traveling the country to tout her initiatives as First Lady, life in the White House and her marriage to President Joe Biden – who also gave a few quotes to the publication about how the couple has adapted to their new roles.
Just months after becoming First Lady, Jill Biden has landed her first Vogue cover – an honor that was never given to her predecessor Melania Trump – which sees her posing at the White House in a $2,690 Oscar de la Renta gown
The 70-year-old modeled a $1,290 blouse and $,2990 skirt from Ralph Lauren to pose in the East Sitting Hall for photographer Annie Leibowitz, who also snapped former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton for their own Vogue covers
There is a scant mention of one fashion incident: when Jill wore patterned stockings on the way home from a trip to California in April – a move that sparked a Twitter war over her choice in leg wear.
‘It’s amazing how much people pay attention to every little detail,’ she said, adding: ‘And they weren’t fishnets. They weren’t lace. They were very pretty stockings.’
The East Wing won’t detail the designer of the clothes Jill Biden wears and the first lady barely discussed fashion in the piece.
‘I like to choose from a diverse group of designers. When I was planning my Inauguration outfits, that’s one of the things I considered,’ she said.
But she laughed off an Instagram account that tracks her every outfit.
‘It’s kind of surprising, I think, how much commentary is made about what I wear or if I put my hair in a scrunchie. I put my hair up! Or the stocking thing,’ she noted.
Elizabeth Alexander, her communications director, told Vogue that Biden doesn’t work with a stylist, insisting: ‘It’s all her.’
However, the First Lady did get some fashion assistance for her cover shoot in the form of Sustainability Editor and fashion director Tonne Goodman, who styled her for the magazine spread, which sees Jill modeling tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end designs.
Jill, who is seen posing in a $1,390 green skirt and a matching $695 sweater from Michael Kors Collection, was joined by her husband President Joe Biden for a photo that was taken on the patio outside the Oval Office
The profile details Biden’s work as a teacher – she’s a professor at a community college in Northern Virginia – and her work as First Lady, particularly her travels across the country to talk about her Joining Forces initiative, her work on education issues, her touting of the American Rescue Plan and her encouragement to Americans to get their COVID vaccine.
She said of her decision to keep teaching while embracing her role in the White House: ‘Why not? You make things happen, right?’
In the Vogue piece Jill and Joe discussed the difficulties they have faced finding time to spend together
Biden is notorious for sticking to her teaching schedule even on the road where events will be delayed until the afternoon so she can teach via Zoom in the mornings. She grades papers on her Air Force plane, known as Executive One Foxtrot, while she travels.
Jonathan Van Meter, who wrote the piece and has previously profiled Biden, traveled with the First Lady on several trips and then joined both Bidens on another.
He describes traveling to Virginia with the first couple for an education event where President Biden stopped the motorcade to greet a group of children waiting outside the school they had visited, while his wife watched on: ‘He embraces the child as Jill lingers on the macadam behind him in black-and-white stilettos, looking every inch a goddess at 69.
‘It’s moments like this with the Bidens – hugging children! – that bring home just how incomprehensibly irregular and out of place our previous president and first lady really were.’
President Biden – who posed for Leibowitz alongside Jill on the patio outside the Oval Office – also gave several glowing quotes to the publication about his wife of 44 years, telling Vogue: ‘It was clear to me that she knew exactly what she would do if she were first lady. And so she came in, I think – knowing the experience of being vice president, knowing the power of the presidency – knowing that she could change things.’
He did concede however that moving into the White House has affected their marriage, admitting that the couple do not get the chance to spend as much ‘romantic time’ together as either of them would like.
‘Yeah, it has,’ he said. ‘I miss her. I’m really proud of her. But it’s not like we can just go off like we used to.
‘When we were living in Delaware and married, once a month we’d just go up to a local bed-and-breakfast by ourselves, to make sure we had a romantic time to just get away and hang out with each other.’
In January, then-Vice President-elect Kamala Harris appeared on the front of the fashion magazine, which published two versions of her cover
Hillary Clinton became the first wife of a President to pose on the cover of Vogue in 1998, when she was photographed by Leibowitz for the magazine
Jill agreed with her husband, explaining that they have both had to ‘try a little harder to make time for one another’, although she noted that they remain committed to eating dinner together, during which they both put their phones away.
‘Even the thing about having dinner together: Sometimes we eat on the balcony; last night we ate in the yellow Oval, upstairs,’ she continued.
‘It’s just part of the day that we set apart, and we still light the candles, still have the conversations, still put the phones away.’
The Bidens were photographed together for the piece, on a patio in the Rose Garden outside the Oval Office. In that pic, Jill wears a $1,390 green skirt and a matching $695 sweater, both from Michael Kors Collection.
Jill was also photographed in the East Sitting Hall of the White House, working on an Apple laptop and wearing a Ralph Lauren blouse, which retails for $1,290, and skirt, which sells for $2,990.
Part of Biden’s interview with the magazine took place in the White House Rose Garden, which was returned to its Bunny Mellon-designed roots by Jill’s predecessor Melania Trump in 2020. Trump was heavily criticized for her redesign of the famous garden.
Van Meter tells Biden in their interview: ‘Everyone got so bent out of shape over Melania redoing the Rose Garden, but I think she made it better.’
Jill, in response, noted the multitude of roses that blossomed and said of Trump: ‘Apparently she put in these walkways. Are these, like, some of the most beautiful roses you’ve ever seen?’
Jill praised her predecessor Melania’s heavily-criticized design of the Rose Garden during her interview with Vogue. The former First Lady is seen walking to the garden with her husband former President Donald Trump in 2019
Jill Biden laughed off a scandal about the stockings she wore on an April trip back from California
Jill Biden in an Oscar de la Renta dress in Wilmington, Delaware, on Election Night 2020; she wore a similar dress on the cover of Vogue
Biden said her goal for life in the White House was to make it as comfortable as their vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The Bidens bought the 4,786-square-foot home in 2017 for $2.74 million.
‘I want the White House to feel comfortable. It’s like my beach house, where you feel like you can just come in, and your bathing suit is sandy, but it’s okay to sit down on the chair. I want people to feel that way, that they’re comfortable, that it’s their house. Not like, ‘Oh, I can’t touch this,” she said.
She also frets if the president will have time to get to their vacation home.
‘I think it’s going to be a lot harder for him. I don’t know. It’s just harder. I don’t know how he could actually go on the beach,’ she says.
The Bidens have only made one trip as a couple to the beach home since he became president – when they spent the night there in early June for Jill Biden’s 70th birthday.
‘A goddess’, ‘a joy multiplier’ and ‘an underestimated asset’: The five most gushing quotes from Jill Biden’s Vogue profile
On Jill’s visits to schools across the US: ‘Which is not to say that Dr. Biden, who is constitutionally shy, doesn’t take special delight in these visits. She becomes looser, goofier, and more expansive. You generally hear her before you see her because she is often laughing. She is, quite simply, a joy multiplier.’
On the First Lady’s ‘goddess’-like appearance while attending an event with Joe: ‘He embraces the child as Jill lingers on the macadam behind him in black-and-white stilettos, looking every inch a goddess at 69. It’s moments like this with the Bidens—hugging children!—that bring home just how incomprehensibly irregular and out of place our previous president and first lady really were.’
On Jill’s role in her husband’s administration: The role she’s fulfilling… is, in many ways, neither first lady nor professor but a key player in her husband’s administration, a West Wing surrogate and policy advocate. “An underestimated asset,” as Mary Jordan, the Washington Post reporter who’s written a book about Melania Trump, put it to me. “It’s hard to imagine Joe doing this without her.”’
On her ‘effortless popularity’: ‘…here’s a first lady who is driven, tireless, effortlessly popular, but also someone who reminds us of ourselves. She’s selling a new vision for how our most fundamental institutions ought to work—infrastructure, education, public health—even as she goes to extraordinary lengths to keep a real-world job, to stay in touch with what makes her human and what matters most.’
On her relationship with journalists: ‘On the flight home to D.C., Dr. Biden came to the back of the plane for an off-the-record gaggle. It’s something I saw over and over again—her solicitousness with reporters, the times she apologized for keeping us waiting… She had heard from one of her staffers that my mother died recently—from cancer—but what she didn’t know is that she died on the Saturday after the election in November, the very day her husband was declared the winner. Who can say why some people seem to have extra capacity to feel other people’s sorrow, but there I was, in front of group of strangers, becoming emotional as I relayed this coincidence of timing. When I composed myself, I looked up at Jill, and she, too, had tears in her eyes.’