Being Prime Minister is not about being 'popular' says Theresa May in Vogue shoot

Tom Peck
Theresa May, wearing an L.K.Bennett coat and dress as she was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for American Vogue: Annie Leibovitz/Vogue

Theresa May has said she is not interested in being “popular”, in an interview with US Vogue magazine, while posing for superstar photographer Annie Leibovitz.

“It’s not a popularity stakes, being prime minister,” Ms May told the magazine. She will be the first British Prime Minister to to be shot for US Vogue. She added: “I think what’s important is for people to feel that I’m delivering for them.”

Ms May, who has not won a general election as leader of the Conservative Party, also dismissed last year’s furore over the £1,000 leather trousers she wore for an interview with the Mail on Sunday, days after becoming Prime Minister and pledging to serve those who were “just about managing”.

“Throughout my political career, people have commented on what I wear,” she said. “That’s just something that happens, and you accept that. But it doesn’t stop me from going out and enjoying fashion. And I also think it’s important to be able to show that a woman can do a job like this and still be interested in clothes.”

The interview is quite a coup for US Vogue’s British editor Anna Wintour, who received a damehood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Theresa May with her husband Philip. Mrs May is wearing an Egg coat and a Sine for Egg sweater as she was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for American Vogue (Annie Leibovitz/Vogue)

Ms May also said she would “stop wearing” the green and blue Vivienne Westwood pantsuit that she said had become known as her “lucky suit”. She wore the wide-trousered suit for her leadership bid speech, which was preceded minutes before by Michael Gove announcing his intention to run, thus effectively removing Boris Johnson from contention, and also for her landmark Brexit speech at Lancaster House. But she also wore it for her EU referendum speech in April of last year, her sole contribution to the Remain campaign.“People have described it as a lucky suit,” she said. “I think I’m going to stop wearing it now.”

She said US President Donald Trump was “actually being a gentleman” when he held her hand as they walked down a ramp on the White House colonnade. “We were about to walk down a ramp, and he said it might be a bit awkward,” she said.

When the then Home Secretary appeared on Desert Island Discs in 2014, she chose as her luxury item “a lifetime subscription to Vogue”.