Salma Hayek on her super-secret conversation with Duchess Meghan while working on British Vogue

By Sarah Walker

It would appear the Duchess of Sussex undertook a bit of an undercover mission when taking on the role of guest editor for British Vogue’s September issue.

Salma Hayek, one of the cover stars, said she was asked not to tell anyone about the special edition or her appearance in magazine – including her husband and daughter.

“I couldn’t talk about it and I didn’t,” Salma told CNN.

Her fellow cover stars also had no idea Meghan was behind the issue.

“I felt very honoured when we did this photo shoot. No one else knew what it was for,” Salma said. “Only me and the photographer, Peter Lindbergh, knew. And all the girls were getting their picture taken for the cover and they didn’t know that Meghan was how they got there.”

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We are proud to announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex is the Guest Editor for the September issue of @BritishVogue. For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective. They have named the issue: “Forces for Change” For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective. The women on the cover include: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington We are excited to announce that within the issue you’ll find: an exclusive interview between The Duchess and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, a candid conversation between The Duke of Sussex and Dr Jane Goodall, inspirational articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others. Equally, you’ll find grassroots organisations and incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better. • “Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying “Yes!” - and to Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” - The Duchess of Sussex #ForcesForChange

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The 52-year-old Mexican-American actress was initially looped into the project by British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful.

“I was in the car and he said, ‘Listen, I’m going to put somebody on the phone. Are you in the car with people?’ I said ‘Yes.’ He told me ‘You cannot say the name of the person I’m calling.’ Frankly, I thought it was a joke. And we are also very good friends with Naomi Campbell. And I thought, they’re pulling my leg or something, you know? I said, ‘Oh, she’s in London and he’s gonna pass me to her,’” Hayek recalled.

“But then it took a while for the other person to get on the phone. Then [Meghan] got on the phone and introduced herself.”

MORE: Laverne Cox gushes about working with Duchess Meghan on British Vogue

The 37-year-old new mom to baby Archie Harrison went on to ask the Frida star to take part in the top-secret project because of her 25-year career advocating for women’s charities.

“She explained her passion for women and what’s happening currently,” the actress recalled. Salma told CNN Meghan then said, “I’m [doing a cover], I’m not going to be the cover, I’m putting my favorite women on the cover. And you’re definitely one of them. You’re one of the first ones.”

Salma added: “I was like completely shocked. I did not see it coming that way. She started talking about how she’s been watching me and why me.”

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I am beyond honoured to have been chosen by The Duchess of Sussex and @BritishVogue for the Forces For Change special issue. It feels incredibly inspiring to be included in the company of women I admire by a woman I admire. Estoy más que honorada de haber sido elegida por La Duquesa de Sussex y @BritishVogue para el número especial Forces for Change. Me siento increíblemente inspirada por ser incluida en la compañía de mujeres que admiro por una mujer que admiro. #ForcesForChange @SussexRoyal Photographed by @TheRealPeterLindbergh, with fashion editors @Edward_Enninful and @TheRealGraceCoddington, hair by @BartPumpkin and @SergeNormant, make-up by @TheValGarland and @Diane.Kendal, nails by @LorraineVGriffin and @YukoTsuchihashi. On newsstands Friday 2 August. Starring: @AdutAkech @Gemma_Chan @GretaThunberg @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @AdwoaAboah @JacindaArdern @FrankieGoesToHayward @SomaliBoxer @CTurlington @SalmaHayek @TheSineadBurke @JaneFonda @LaverneCox @YaraShahidi

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The Oscar-nominated actress even admitted to feeling embarrassed about being chosen for the cover of the special edition alongside the other featured women.

“The thing is that now there’s so many amazing things happening,” Salma told CNN. “It was kind of interesting for me that she noticed me in this new wave of excitement about change. She really knew what she was talking about. I started on this path so long ago, and I did it quietly... A lot of the work I did was not about awareness, at the beginning I would go to the places, do the work. I started doing a lot of what people can't see, a lot of strategy.”

MORE: How Michelle Obama left Duchess Meghan speechless

The special September issue, dubbed “Forces for Change,” features 15 barrier-breaking women on its cover, including Christy Turlington and Jane Fonda , and includes candid conversations between the 37-year-old new mom and former US First Lady Michelle Obama and an interview Prince Harry did with Dr. Jane Goodall.

Other influential women featured in the magazine include model Adwoa Aboah , diversity advocate Sinéad Burke, The Good Place star Jameela Jamil, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie , New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox , Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan , Grown-ish and Black-ish star Yara Shahidi and teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

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