In a recent Vogue article titled “Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska,” Rachel Donadio (DG 2016, 2019) interviews Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska.

“There is no script for first ladies in wartime, and so Olena Zelenska is writing her own. The wife of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a longtime comedy writer, always preferred to stay behind the scenes, while her husband, a comedian turned politician whose presidency may yet determine the fate of the free world, glowed in the limelight. But ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Zelenska has suddenly found herself center stage in a tragedy. When [Donadio] met her on a recent rainy afternoon in Kyiv, where cafés were busy even amid frequent air-raid sirens, her luminous face and green-brown eyes seemed to capture the range of emotions coursing through Ukraine today: deep sadness, flashes of dark humor, recollections of a safer, happier past, and a steely core of national pride.

‘These have been the most horrible months of my life, and the lives of every Ukrainian,’ she said, speaking her country’s language through a translator. ‘Frankly I don’t think anyone is aware of how we have managed emotionally.” What inspires her, she told [Donadio], is her fellow Ukrainians. ‘We’re looking forward to victory. We have no doubt we will prevail. And this is what keeps us going.'”

Read the full article here.

Photo by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, October 2022.