Welcome to the Winter 2021 issue of Glass – Reflect

WELCOME to the winter 2021 issue of Glass, an issue dedicated to the importance of reflection. But who could have imagined the past few years? I remember writing the editor’s note for our 2019 winter issue – it welcomed in the new year and was full of excitement at the prospect of the coming decade. The events of spring 2020 were completely beyond our expectations. I doubt many were thinking that in four months’ time, the whole world would be in a global lockdown.

Glass Cover Gugu
Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Photograph: Nick Thompson

So, at the end of this year, as thanks to the wonders of medical science and of humanity’s great sacrifices, it seems that we have emerged from the pandemic – that the worse days are behind us. Of course, we still have to wear our masks and follow social distancing etiquette. Moreover, not everyone is back at work and, ultimately, things will never be quite the same as pre-Covid-19. I thought, therefore, that the theme of reflect would be an interesting one to explore.

As the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

With this in mind, we asked our cover stars what reflect means to them.

Glass Cover Stacy Issue 48
Stacy Martin: Photograph: Zoe McConnell

The British actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw said, Across this year there has been so much growth, which is so strange when you think back to 2020 and how much time we spent at home in fear and anxiety.

“It makes me have faith in the journey and see that there is a cycle to everything. Sometimes you have to be still before you can really fly. And in 2020, there was definitely a lot of stillness. But 2021 has been full sprint all the way. So, I guess when I reflect on that time it gives me a bit of confidence – when you sometimes think nothing is happening, things are still happening. Like when a seed is underneath the earth and you are wondering, is it growing yet?!

“So, when I reflect, I would say to have faith in the process. There will be quiet times but there will be busy times to come.”

And the British supermodel-turned-musician Karen Elson told us, This was a year of great change for me, it was a year of taking a chance on myself … Sometimes you have to jump in the deep end to learn how to swim and I certainly did that this year.

Glass Cover Karen
Karen Elson. Photograph: Emma Dalzell-Khan

“As I reflect, I am not sad that I did. There have been so many powerful things that have happened this year, so many monumental moments for me – I put out my book! What can I say, I finally believed in myself this year. I took the plunge and I learnt how to swim and I will never regret that.”

What are your reflections on the past few years? I hope this issue gives you some pause to consider them.

Caroline Simpson


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