Reporter's Notebook

Undercover: April 2018

The story behind our cover story on the first person to get a gender-neutral driver's license in the US 

Photo­graphy by
Jeff Watts

April 2018 American magazine cover featuring Nic Sakurai

How best to visually represent history? That was the question we grappled with as we discussed concepts for our latest cover. Art director Maria Jackson ultimately came up with our answer: a four-foot Styrofoam "X." 

Jackson ordered the prop from Etsy, then spray-painted it gunmetal. Thankfully, cover subject Nic Sakurai was a willing and able model. Sakurai was the first person in the United States to get a gender-neutral driver's license. Instead of an "M" or "F," their license has an "X."

Sakurai came to our studio on Connecticut Avenue, where photographer Jeff Watts snapped away while Jackson suggested poses and Sakurai happily obliged. Sakurai had fun with the process, which we think shines through in the photos. We hope you do too.