16-year-old Billie Eilish fan from Russian town becomes youngest ever digital cover artist for ‘Vogue’
On February 3, Vogue released its March issue in the U.S. with four different covers, all portraits of megastar singer Billie Eilish. One of those covers, the lead image for the magazine’s digital edition, was drawn by a 16-year-old from a Russian town with a population under 83,000.
Nastya Kovtun is from Chaykovsky, a city in Russia’s Perm region. Vogue contacted her and 20-year-old Kaylee Yang from Michigan simultaneously to commission a portrait of Billie Eilish from each artist. Both initially thought the commission was a prank. According to Vogue’s Liana Satenstein, Kovtun required “proof — a scan of the magazine’s masthead and translations in Russian” to be convinced that the message was real.
Both Kovtun and Yang are Billie Eilish fans, and the singer herself selected them along with a number of more established artists to portray her for the March issue. Vogue’s editors said they asked Eilish to choose artists from among her own online followers so that the resulting portraits would reflect how broadly her fandom had spread around the globe. Eilish does not follow Kovtun or Yang on Instagram herself, but she had liked 15 of Kovtun’s posts in the past.
As the magazine noted, Nastya Kovtun’s bio on Instagram reads simply, “Im 16 and I love to draw.” Kovtun first encountered Eilish’s music in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and carefully translates her favorite songs to understand their meanings in English. “The words are the strongest on the planet,” Kovtun told Vogue, adding, “I haven’t met anyone who has influenced me and what I draw as much as [Eilish] did.”
Kovtun has drawn numerous portraits of Eilish as well as other contemporary pop stars.