Fug File: Fug The Cover

Fug the Cover: Gwen Stefani on Cosmopolitan

Well, the fonts and colors are better, and there is a merciful lack of dumb pandering slang or emojis.

Gwen Stefano on Cosmo, Sept 2016

But Cosmo did more interesting work with the photos inside the magazine. You could plug Carrie Underwood in here and be like, “Okay, sure, still makes sense,” which is not something I have ever said about anything Gwen-related before; further, something about the stiff facial pose will only exacerbate people’s concerns that Gwen has been tinkering with her face. This feels a bit too much like Homogenized And Partly Frozen Gwen Stefani With Bonus Fishnets, and I wish for more.

[Photo: Cosmo]


Fugs and Fabs the September Issue: International Vogues

Ah, yes. Nothing says, “Summer will soon be over” like the appearance of September issues on your newsstands. Drink up your cold brews because it will soon be Pumpkin Spice Latte time again, friends. While we wait to see to whom Anna Wintour gives the coveted American Vogue nod, let’s check in with a variety of international Vogues (not all of them have made their appearances yet, so I’m sure we have at least one more round of this feature to go — so don’t be too perturbed if I missed your favorite iteration). As usual, I have Magazine Envy.

[Covers: A Variety of Vogues]


Fug or Fab the Cover: Kerry Washington on InStyle, September 2016

About the only thing I like here is the lipstick.

Kerry Washington, InStyle 2016

I’m not sure why InStyle decided to remake itself using a knockoff of Woody Allen’s signature film font, but it makes this look more like a bad movie poster than a magazine cover. I also don’t know why Kerry’s hair looks so lank, or why the color palette looks like the kind of dingy neutral wall that you paint over the second you move into a new house. About the only thing I CAN assume is that they made “FALL FEVER” so big because Kerry’s eyes look like she’s fighting off a bug.

I’m not sure why Kerry is so frequently done a disservice by cover shoots. Seriously, the next time I see Kerry on a magazine, I want it to be this:


More of that please. Move of ALL of this. Give her life, not consumption.


Well Played: Hailee Steinfeld on Seventeen’s September 2016 Issue

Seventeen - September '16 - Newsstand

I honestly think this cover is charming, even considering the fact that she’s wearing (very cute) PJ bottoms with her (also cute) cardigan. It’s a warm, flattering, friendly photo and it seems very much in keeping with the Seventeen aesthetic. I also think the font here is appealing and youthful. Basically, although I am massively out of Seventeen‘s target demo (and they don’t make the effort that Teen Vogue, for example, does to cross-over to the olds [they don't need to]), I am always pleased to float past it on the newsstand at the market and think, “oh, look, so-and-so looks cute there!” rather than “OMGWTFBBQ THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!” I can only clutch my pearls so often in one day before it starts cutting off circulation to my brain.

This quote from the interview also made me laugh:

On the biggest misconception of being part of Taylor Swift’s squad: “I think people think we spend a lot more time together than we actually do! She’s amazing, though.”

I feel like the subtext of that is, “HAHAHAHAHA you guys Taylor and I aren’t really actual proper friends but she was legit nice to me for those several months when she decided that her branding needed an infusion of feel-good lady friendship.” Very artfully conveyed, Hailee. You may have a future in diplomacy.

[Cover: Jason Kim/Seventeen]


Well Played Cover: Kylie Jenner on Allure

This is mostly remarkable for appearing to show a more natural side of Kylie.

Kylie Jenner on Allure Magazine

She looks so much better this way. It’s an object lesson for all of her brood: If you stop with all the artifice, you might actually find that you don’t need it, and that you were in fact lovely enough all along.

Although I do get a bit of pause from her eyes. They connect but they also look a bit heavy, in a sleepy way, like she’s been having the damnedest time with something that’s blooming right now. Which would make a great cover for their future sister publication, Alluregic, for hay fever sufferers.


Fugs and Fabs: Various UK Magazine Covers

Oh, man. Some of these are so good. As ever, I have cover jealousy.

[Covers: GQ, Tatler, Elle, Harper's Bazaar]


Fug the Cover: Natalie Portman on T Magazine

Several things about this cover gave me the giggles. The first is the expression on her face.

Natalie Portman

She looks DISGUSTED with us. All of us. This is the face of a woman who just watched someone burn a book and then eat the ashes on a gluten-only cracker covered in spray-can cheese. She knows you’re not standing up every hour and doing squats at your desk, and it revolts her. She sees you — your plain, fraying white underwear, your uncontoured face, your subscription to Seventeen that randomly started arriving one day and yet nobody believes you that you didn’t pay for it — and deems you wanting. So, as much as I understand people may respond to the spare, artsy effect of her eyes boring through you like a bitter drill, I personally do not want to read an article about this person who so clearly just saw me put potato chips on my sandwiches and LOATHES my excess.

But the thing is, you actually have to read the article. Because it is A Thing That Has Happened. It’s a string of self-conscious e-mails between Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer — ostensibly because they are old friends who’d fallen out of touch, but also because both have new projects to promote — that are so heavily considered and constructed, you imagine they tried every pose in the Typing Kama Sutra to impregnate them with Meaning. And… I mean, behold one of his, whipsawing between pretension and Oh Wait I Have A Job To Do:

“It’s almost 6:00 in the morning. The boys are still asleep. The guinea pigs are stirring, but that might be a residue of a nightmare. People often refer to aloneness or writer’s block as the two great challenges of being a novelist. In fact, the hardest part is having to care for guinea pigs.

Am I correct that A Tale of Love and Darkness is the first project that was entirely your own conception?

There is also a LONG lead-in about when garbage day is on his street, which is allegedly a feeder into a question about ritual, but which seems more like an exercise in vanity. And she asks him almost nothing, which is perhaps fair given that technically he is the interviewer here, but still. Most of her stuff is waxing poetic and then being like, “Oops, gotta go,” for some domestic reason. However, the most compelling reason to wade through it all is to appreciate the genius of The Millions’ parody that reimagines the exchange as between Natalie Portman and Cormac McCarthy. TREAT. YO. SELF.