Photo: Sioux Nesi

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"It's harder than it looks, isn't it?" said Oprah as she posed with the women featured in "Lighter as We Go" at this month's shoot in New York City. None of our subjects had any idea they'd be meeting Oprah, much less appearing with her on the cover; they thought they were simply being featured in a weight loss story. At the big reveal, there was laughter and tears—followed by makeup touch-ups. "I was elated and overjoyed when I saw Oprah walk in," said Shaniqua Garvin. "Knowing I'm going to be on the cover with her motivates me that much more to focus on my goals. It felt like I got a big hug from a higher power." The day ended with Champagne, strawberries (dipped in just a little chocolate) and a toast from Oprah praising her fellow models: "This cover is groundbreaking!"