anna wintour says we need to talk about mental health

The Vogue editor joins actors Lena Dunham and Emma Stone in speaking out about teen anxiety and depression.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
04 May 2015, 5:20pm

Photography Ben Fries

In advance of tonight's Met Ball, writer Amy Larocca toured the Anna Wintour Costume Center with its immaculate bob-sporting namesake for a feature in New York Magazine, published today.

At the institute — which as of Thursday, will be showing the Met Museum's biggest-ever fashion exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass — and in the lofty enclave of Ms. Wintour's office at One World Trade Center, Larocca broke the Vogue editor's habitual "performative silence." In the resulting interview, Wintour opens up on topics including her ever-expanding empire at Condé Nast, her relationship with Michelle Obama, her thoughts on Lean In (Or is it "Lean Me?," she wondered), and her support for Hillary Clinton. Unsurprisingly, she was not as hungry to know about Clinton's burrito filling choices as the rest of the world. "Get a grip!" she quipped when Larocca mentioned Clinton's now-famous foray into a Maumee, Ohio Chipotle.

Wintour made clear that she would far rather we focus our attention on what really matters during this election cycle. Chief among her concerns are gay rights ("it will be interesting to see how the more right-wing Republicans deal with it") and gun control (the current state of affairs, she says, is "just insane"). On a personal level, Wintour highlights the work of the Youth Anxiety Center as a worthy cause. The specialist center at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital "focuses on young people who suffer from severe anxiety or depression, like from their late teens to their mid-20s," explains Wintour.

She goes on to reference a recent conversation with her tennis pro (who else can you talk about these things with?) concerning the stress placed on school- and college-age kids today. "They just can't cope with it," she says, advocating the benefits of taking time out before university, and encouraging a more open dialog about mental health.

"I think mental health is an area where people are embarrassed," Wintour continues. "They don't want to talk about it because somehow they feel they're a failure as a parent or, you know, they're embarrassed for their child or they want to protect their child, lots of very good reasons, but mental health I feel is something that you have to talk about. That time from 15 to 16 to your mid- to late 20s — you look grown up, people think you're grown up, but you're still a kid."

She also includes a shoutout to actors and Vogue cover girls Lena Dunham and Emma Stone, who have spoken openly about their own struggles with anxiety. Has the "Nuclear Wintour" thawed?


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Ben Fries

mental health
Anna Wintour
Met Ball
lena dunham
emma stone