Rap superstar Megan Thee Stallion takes the cover story of American ELLE Magazine‘s May 2023 edition lensed by fashion photographer Adrienne Raquel. In charge of styling was Law Roach, with set design from Julie Faravel for Owl and the Elephant, and production by Anthony Federici for Petty Cash Production. Beauty is work of hair stylist Tokyo Stylez at Chris Aaron Management, makeup artist Rokael Lizama for Opus Beauty, and manicurist Coca Michelle.
I don’t want to call myself a victim. As I reflect on the past three years, I view myself as a survivor, because I have truly survived the unimaginable. Not only did I survive being shot by someone I trusted and considered a close friend, but I overcame the public humiliation of having my name and reputation dragged through the mud by that individual for the entire world to see.
I wish I could have handled this situation privately. That was my intention, but once my attacker made it public, everything changed. By the time I identified my attacker, I was completely drained. Many thought I was inexplicably healed because I was still smiling through the pain, still posting on social media, still performing, still dancing, and still releasing music. The truth is that I started falling into a depression. I didn’t feel like making music. I was in such a low place that I didn’t even know what I wanted to rap about. I wondered if people even cared anymore. There would be times that I’d literally be backstage or in my hotel, crying my eyes out, and then I’d have to pull Megan Pete together and be Megan Thee Stallion.
It never crossed my mind that people wouldn’t believe me. Still, I knew the truth and the indisputable facts would prevail. I had worked way too hard to reach this point in my career to let taunts deter me. When the guilty verdict came on Dec. 23, 2022, it was more than just vindication for me, it was a victory for every woman who has ever been shamed, dismissed, and blamed for a violent crime committed against them.
We can’t control what others think, especially when the lies are juicier than the truth. But as a society, we must create safer environments for women to come forward about violent behavior without fear of retaliation. We must provide stronger resources for women to recover from these tragedies physically and emotionally, without fear of judgment. We must do more than say her name. We must protect all women who have survived the unimaginable. – Megan Thee Stallion
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