Surprised by the Caitlyn cover? So was everyone else. (EPA/VANITY FAIR)

Surprised by the Caitlyn cover? So was everyone else. (EPA/VANITY FAIR)

Leaks are the new normal — we’ve seen everything from Drake songs to Game of Thrones episodes (and, um, an entire movie studio’s secrets) hacked over the past year.

But somehow, Vanity Fair kept one of the year’s biggest stories, with an instant-classic cover, under wraps: Caitlyn Jenner’s public introduction.

How did they do it? Since the cover’s reveal on Monday, more details have emerged about how VF protected the issue from leaks, via an impressive combination of secret shoots and complete avoidance of the Internet.

Here’s how VF pulled off the cover of the year:

1. They claimed they were dressing Barbara Streisand.

Genius. In an interview with the New York Times, VF‘s veteran fashion and style director Jessica Diehl revealed that, except for a select few people, the magazine’s crew all thought Barbara Streisand was shooting that day.

2. They worked with a tiny crew.

Only a “skeleton crew” of around 10 staffers knew the real identity of the magazine’s next covergirl.

3. They had to shoot on the Jenner compound.

A photoshoot anywhere else would’ve been impossible. Instead of their usual lavish sets, the VF crew shot Jenner at her Malibu home over the course of several days. The absence of VF’s usual props wasn’t an issue.  “Luckily, she has some pretty fierce cars, just in the driveway,” Diehl said. “We didn’t have to go anywhere.”

4. Security confiscated all cellphones on the shoot.

A tweeted picture or Instagram would’ve blown Caitlyn’s cover — and ruined that unlucky crewmember’s career . To prevent any on-set leaks, security was present at the shoot, with all cellphones confiscated in a box during the shoot.

5. They wouldn’t borrow clothes from designers.

Normally, designers send VF clothing for specific shoots. Since the magazine couldn’t reveal who exactly they were dressing, Diehl bought the clothes Jenner wore, corresponding with Zac Posen and Donna Karan to track down items of clothing without revealing who’d be wearing them.

Posen was surprised to see Jenner in his off-the-shoulder black gown on Monday, and told the NYT that he was “very proud to be included in the roster of chosen designers for such a historic moment.”

6. Caitlyn didn’t have a normal fitting

Fitting a woman Jenner’s size had its own challenges for Diehl. “Caitlyn’s proportions are fashion proportions, really. She’s tall, slim, narrow hipped: kind of ideal to dress,” she said.

But Jenner’s size presented a potential issue. “We all know that a tall woman at 6’2″ is not sample size,” she said, while staying mum on Jenner’s actual size. (Classy move!)

Diehl used Jenner’s measurements to buy some garments online, and met with the star the day before the shoot to try everything on, a risky move. Luckily, everything fit. “The physique is really extraordinary,” Diehl said. “We should all be decathletes.”

7. The story was built on an offline computer.

Once the photos were shot, a new challenge arose: keeping VF‘s computers from getting hacked. The Jenner story and photos were produced on a computer disconnected from the internet, which were deleted every night and moved to a flash drive, Mashable reported.

8. The story was hand-delivered to the printer.

You know it’s serious when the magazine won’t even send the spread to the printer. Impressive!

9. The Kardashian klan was on VF‘s side.

Depending on what you think about the Kardashians, it’s either a wonder that the Kardashian/Jenner clan didn’t spill the beans to get more attention, or it’s the least surprising thing in the world. We agree with the latter — this is a family expertly versed in handling the media, and ruining Caitlyn’s big announcement wouldn’t have helped anyone in the long run.

Most or all of the family must’ve known about Caitlyn’s VF spread, and yet not one sneak-peek photo was Instagrammed. We’d say we were impressed — but that wouldn’t be giving Kris’ clan enough credit.