Malala Yousafzai Hopes Her 'British Vogue' Cover Helps Every Girl 'Know That She Can Change the World'

The activist discussed her time at Oxford University with British Vogue, saying it was there that she "finally got some time for myself"

Malala Yousafzai
Photo: Nick Knight

Malala Yousafzai is hoping to inspire girls everywhere with her latest magazine cover.

The 23-year-old Oxford grad appears on the cover of British Vogue's July 2021 issue where she opened up about politics, activism and her path forward. Yousafzai — whose lifelong dedication to empowering women quickly gained global attention, as she became a bestselling author and the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize — also told the magazine she worries about achieving her goals.

"I care a lot about my work and I worry about how long it would take to reach the goals we have set. People say, 'Malala, don't worry, it's not your responsibility, leaders should worry!' But if I have the capacity to do something to keep raising awareness, then I should," she said.

Born in Mingora, Pakistan, in 1997, Yousafzai had her heart set on becoming a doctor, but things quickly changed in 2008 when the Taliban commanded power and shared different perspectives on girls attending school.

Yousafzai began to publicly advocate for girls' education, but was eventually barred from school for her radical views. After spending years championing girls' education in her native Pakistan, she quickly gained international attention — but on Oct. 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen opened fire on her school bus, striking Yousafzai in the head. She was airlifted from Pakistan to a hospital in Birmingham, England, where she made a miraculous recovery. In June 2020, Yousafzai completed her studies at Oxford University, graduating with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.

Malala Yousafzai
Nick Knight

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Reflecting on her time at Oxford, Yousafzai told British Vogue about how she made the most of her college experience and enjoyed the many opportunities that came with it.

"I was excited about literally anything. Going to McDonald's or playing poker with my friends or going to a talk or an event. I was enjoying each and every moment because I had not seen that much before," she explained. "I had never really been in the company of people my own age because I was recovering from the incident, and traveling around the world, publishing a book and doing a documentary, and so many things were happening. At university I finally got some time for myself."

Yousafzai also addressed the current state of activism among young people, saying she hopes movements trend away from social media displays. "Right now we have associated activism with tweets. That needs to change because Twitter is a completely different world," she said.

On Instagram, Yousafzai reflected on her magazine cover, writing that she hopes it inspires girls around the world.

"Thrilled and humbled to be on the cover of @britishvogue!" she wrote. "I know the power that a young girl carries in her heart when she has a vision and a mission — and I hope that every girl who sees this cover will know that she can change the world."

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