There’s a rumor in Washington that the United Kingdom may soon be welcoming a very stylish emissary. According to a report by Bloomberg News, Anna Wintour, the powerful editor of Vogue magazine, is being considered by President Obama for the prestigious post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Those raising an eyebrow may want to consider this: As our relationship with the United Kingdom is well-established, peaceful and friendly, the ambassador to the Court of St. James’s doesn’t need the serious diplomat skills of a career Foreign Service officer. And indeed, the job is frequently given to a supporter who has helped raise funds for the president, which Wintour certainly did. The style icon was President Obama’s fourth-largest “bundler” of campaign contributions, hosted several fundraising dinners (including a Paris Fashion Week event that cost $10,000 per ticket) and spearheaded the Runway to Win effort, which raised over $40 million for Obama’s reelection campaign, campaign manager Jim Messina told Bloomberg Businessweek. Plus, Wintour, though now an American citizen, was born in Britain.
However, she isn’t the only Obama supporter vying for the position. Bloomberg reports former ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun is also angling for the job. Barzun, a former tech executive, was the finance chairman of Obama’s reelection campaign. Bloomberg also notes that Wintour may alternatively be up for the job of ambassador to France. It’s hard to think of a more fitting emissary to the fashionable City of Light than the Vogue editor.
What exactly does an ambassador to a friendly nation do? The Guardian’s diplomatic editor Julian Borger described an ambassador’s duties as such: “Apart from the obligatory binge consumption of great piles of Ferrero Rocher nutty chocolate balls, an ambassador is supposed to represent the interests of his or her state abroad, and be a channel of communication between governments and, ideally, peoples.” Additionally, ambassadors must be able to foot much of the bill for the dozens of receptions he or she is expected to host — because, according to the Los Angeles Times, “the State Department doesn’t float you a huge entertainment budget.” Wintour should be able to throw a shindig or two. Plus, based on her Obama fundraisers, including a $38,500-a-plate dinner at Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker’s home in Manhattan, Wintour knows how to create a celebrity-studded event.
While a fashion editor may not seem like the most logical choice for an ambassador post, remember that an investment banker holds the post now and the U.S. ambassador to Ireland is an owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.