Chelsea Manning is loving her freedom in Vogue’s September issue


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Chelsea Manning has stunned in a swimsuit shoot for Vogue‘s prestigious September issue.

The former US army intelligence analyst, who was jailed for providing sensitive military information to Wikileaks in 2013 and released – following a commutation by President Obama – in May, was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the spread.

I was given a chance: Chelsea Manning thanks Obama

Convicted intelligence leaker Chelsea Manning gives her first TV interview since leaving prison, thanking Obama for granting her clemency.

Wearing a red Norma Kamali swimsuit, Manning poses, smiling, with her hands running through her hair while walking along a beach.

“Chelsea Manning Changed the Course of History,” proclaims the accompanying article’s headline. “Now She’s Focusing on Herself.”

Manning tweeted a picture of the photo herself with the caption “guess this is what freedom looks like” followed by her signature trail of emoji.

Her supporters were quick to praise the glamorous picture.

“It looks hot on you, girl,” said Twitter user Sofia, to which Manning, who has become an avid Twitter user after her release, replied, “Good, because that water was ice cold.”

Others praised how confident and happy Manning appeared in her life beyond the maximum-security US Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas’ Fort Leavenworth.

Speaking to Vogue‘s contributing editor Nathan Heller, Manning said she did not regret her decision to leak over 700,000 classified or sensitive military documents, reflecting on the morality of holding governments accountable.

“I’ve accepted responsibility for my own decisions and my own actions,” she said. 

“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. Everyone keeps saying, You should have gone through the proper channels! But the proper channels don’t work.”

Manning, who transitioned after her sentencing in 2014, also discussed her gender identity, saying she knew she was “different” to the other boys growing up in regional Oklahoma.

“I gravitated more toward playing house, but the teachers were always pushing me toward playing the more competitive games with the boys.” she said. “I spent so much time wondering, What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I fit in?” 

Speaking on her sense of fashion, this is – let us not forget – a Vogue profile after all, Manning told Heller she is a fan of the simple styles of Marc Jacobs (“even going back to when I was wearing men’s clothing”) and read fashion magazines – among 50-60 other periodicals – while she was detained during her trial and then during her sentence.

“I missed seven years of fashion, but I went through every season in a magazine,” she said. 

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