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Caitlyn Jenner went public with her transition on the cover of the July 2015 issue of Vanity Fair. Annie Liebovitz shot the photograph, and the text read, “Call me Caitlyn.” This ended months of media speculation about Jenner’s private transition. Five years later, Jenner explains why she wanted to make such a bold statement. 

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Annenberg Foundation

Jenner appeared on Rob Lowe’s Literally! podcast on Sept 2. She spoke in depth about her transition from the time she was an athlete to now. Here is why she called that Vanity Fair cover “a big F U.”

Annie Liebovitz shot a sexy Caitlyn Jenner photo for Vanity Fair

Jenner described the photo shoot with Liebovitz. It was mostly standard and conservative, but she knew when Liebovitz dressed her in the pushup bustier that that would be the cover.

Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair cover
Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover | Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

“I had my kids, especially on the Jenner side, the boys [said], ‘Don’t make it too sexy. You’re 65 years old.’” Jenner told Lowe. “I said, ‘I get that, I get that. But we did take this one picture, good old Annie Liebovitz, in this little bustier kind of shot. Even when I was taking it I’m thinking I know these son of a guns, this is what they’re going to use. Welcome to the female side, okay. They’re going to put you in some little bustier and the whole thing. I said I get it.”

Caitlyn Jenner was ready to say F U 

Jenner had spent decades debating making her transition. When she finally went through with it, she had paparazzi hounding her, trying to out her before she was ready. When she could come out on her terms, she wanted it to be big.

Anyway, I had seen a picture. They had a couple of them that Annie had come out a week before so these were probably some of the pictures. I don’t know what they’re going to use but these are some of the pictures. One of them was that shot. That picture was a big F U to the world. I had been through so much crap leading up to that: sneaking around, media, press, just horrible to me. A couple of my boys didn’t like it, thought it was a little too hot but for me, I wanted it over the top.

Caitlyn Jenner, Literally! podcast, 9/2/2020

Vanity Fair told the story she wanted to tell

With it’s F U cover, Jenner felt her Vanity Fair debut told the world who she really is.

“I saw that picture and said, you know what, that’s exactly what I wanted,” Jenner said. “Take this. That was it. I was out. It was an iconic moment. It was such an iconic cover. That was me saying to the rest of the world saying this is what I’ve been through. I’ve been through so much stuff. It changed the narrative.”

Vanity Fair: Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

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Jenner gave an interview to Diane Sawyer coinciding with the Vanity Fair cover. She credited Sawyer with helping her control her narrative too.

“Diane Sawyer changed the narrative,” Jenner continued. “It changed the paparazzis. They were still around but they couldn’t now make up stories and do this and that because I was honest. That changed it there. Then when the Vanity Fair came out, it was the same thing. It changed the narrative. Now they had a name, Caitlyn and people were very, very respectful.”