A 16-year-old artist from Russia has become the youngest person to draw a Vogue digital cover with her portrait of American pop singer Billie Eilish.
Eilish herself reportedly hand-selected Nastya Kovtun, who hails from the central Russian city of Chaykovsky, to draw her likeness for the March cover story. Kaylee Yang, a 20-year-old fan from Michigan, was also selected to draw one of the magazine’s four digital covers.
According to Vogue, both young artists thought they were being pranked when they were first told the news. The magazine’s visuals team sent Kovtun a scan of its masthead and translations in Russian to convince her that the offer was real.
Kovtun’s drawing shows Eilish in a Louis Vuitton dress and gazing into the distance with her characteristic blank stare. Wisps of neon-green hair fall across her face, which is drawn in a slightly cartoonish manner.
Kovtun says the 18-year-old Eilish inspired her to start drawing at a time when she felt lost about what to do with her life.
“Billie is a simple person like us all. She doesn’t act superior to her fans, and she talks to them like friends,” she told Vogue. “I’ve never seen anything like her. I haven’t met anyone who has influenced me and what I draw as much as she has.”
The young artist has posted several drawings of Eilish on her Instagram account, @kovtunnastya. While she also draws famous musicians like Lana Del Rey and Tyler, the Creator, Eilish is Kovtun’s most frequent subject. Eilish has liked 15 of her drawings on Instagram, according to Vogue.
Eilish, whose honest lyrics about teen angst, relatable persona and bold rejection of pop star conventions have made her beloved by millions of Gen Z-ers, is widely popular among Russia’s youth.
While she doesn’t speak English, Kovtun says she translates Eilish’s lyrics into Russian so she can fully understand the meanings behind her idol’s music.
“The words are the strongest on the planet,” she said. “They can make you cry, laugh, get angry or worry.”