Magazines Search for a New Type of Cover Girl

Unsurprisingly, A-list Hollywood actresses– you know the type: outrageous amounts of money, ridiculously high heels, and sculpted husbands– are not the most relatable to the everyday female. This may seem like obvious news but there are some resounding effects.

Jess Cagle, managing editor of Entertainment Weekly, puts it this way:

“…[M]ovie stars are less revered than they used to be, and also audiences have shifted their allegiance in large part to television.”

Due to this shift in “allegiance” so to speak, editors have adjusted their magazine covers to satisfy the readers. For example, Glamour’s covers were 50% populated with film stars, but when the magazine realized that their edition featuring Lauren Conrad– a reality TV star– was the best selling issue in 2012, they opted to make film stars the minority of cover girls.

Other leading ladies who have made sales mile markers are Beyonce and Lady Gaga, showing that musicians pack a lot of punch as well. The growth of social media has also aided in the relability of some stars, especially those who tweet, or are patrons of Instagram and Vine, for example. Other possible reasons for the attachment to reality stars is the ongoing, weekly relationship  developed through regular programming, versus the roughly two hour relationship created during movies. The personal investment is much more temporary with movies than with television.

Another speculation is that most movies (as of late), appeal to men, and women make up the majority of magazine buyers, so  a gap is created where women do not relate to male movie stars.

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Kate Upton on the Cover of Vogue

Twenty year old Kate Upton is doing more than making a name for herself: she’s helping facilitate a much needed and long awaited change in the way women are portrayed in the media. The bombshell graces the cover of the most recent edition of Vogue, where she is referred to as “the hottest supermodel on earth,”:

a90d42d2-4b62-49d1-bd9e-01193869c837_kateuptoncover_vogueWe must celebrate the appearance of a plus sized model on the cover of a high fashion magazine, marking Vogue’s effort to promote and picture healthier looking promises, recalling a promise they made in 2012. The magazine expressed an interest in the well-being of their readers and promised to not work with models under the age of sixteen, “who appear to have an eating disorder.” The magazine also encouraged designers to rethink how they picture, design, and market clothing, which often drives models to diet in order to fit into unrealistically proportioned clothes.

Upton speaks fondly of her own body, ignoring the preposterous “overweight” comments that have been thrown her way:

“The things that they’re rejecting are things that I can’t change. I can’t change my bra size. They’re natural! I can work out and I can stay healthy and motivated, but I can’t change some things. I really just live my life. I love my body. It’s what God gave me! I feel confident with myself, and if that inspires other women to feel confident with their bodies, great.”

The Dark Side of the Modeling Industry

The Devil Wears Prada gave us an insider’s look at a fashion magazine. The film, based on the novel, is the nearly true life account of one woman’s experience working for Vogue. Yes, names had to be changed and even some situations were tweaked, but the veil was a thin one. Meryl Streep’s cold character is known to be reminiscent of American Vogue’s Anna Wintour:

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The novel’s author, Lauren Weisberger, gives her honest account of what it was like working for one of the best known names in fashion… of course she had to disguise some elements, and leave out aspects of truth (like the fact that she suffered amoebic dysentery before being hired, leaving her rail thin, although still a target for criticism regarding her weight).

Last year, editor-in-chief at Australia’s Vogue was unexpectedly dropped from the work roster. One day after her surprise-firing, she was offered a book deal to tell her story. She took it. Kirstie Clements recently published The Vogue Factor, in which she recounts the things she saw and heard as editor. Clements recounts some particularly extreme dieting habits– which may not surprise you at first given that it’s the modeling industry and when isn’t there an extreme diet going around? But Clements recalls models snacking on tissues. Yes, tissues. This isn’t an episode of My Strange Addiction— apparently the tissues would expand in their stomachs, stifling and hunger pangs. Clements also reports seeing models on hospital drips. She also addresses the issue of airbrushing. So many people are quick to say a photo has been airbrushed to make someone look skinnier, but Clements claims that some models were so skinny that they had to be airbrushed to look less malnourished.