Hands in her hair, a smile on her face, Chelsea Manning looks radiant in red one-piTo ece bathing suit in the September issue of Vogue Magazine.
Shot by Annie Leibovitz, the transgender activist and former Army intelligence analyst joins the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and more in the magazine’s 125th Anniversary collector’s edition.
To celebrate the occasion, Manning tweeted: ‘Guess this is what freedom looks like.’
In 2010, Manning sent three-quarters of a million sensitive documents to WikiLeaks. The information spanned over 40 years of State Department intel and messaging. After pleading guilty in August 2013, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The day after, Manning came out as transgender.
On 17 January, 2017, in the last days of his final term, Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence. She ultimately faced seven years of containment before her freedom became a reality.
‘I have these values that I can connect with: responsibility, compassion,’ she says in the Vogue piece. ‘Those are really foundational for me. Do and say and be who you are because, no matter what happens, you are loved unconditionally.’
She also says she accepts responsibility for her actions. However, there are still problems to address. ‘I think it’s important to remember that when somebody sees government wrongdoing — whether it’s illegal or immoral or unethical — there isn’t the means available to do something about it,’ she explains. In her eyes, there should be more ways to talk about what the government is doing.
Now, at 29, she’s working on a memoir and taking the time to figure out what she wants to do next, whether it’s running for public office or something else.
You can read the full Vogue piece here. The issue hits stands 22 August.