First, let’s consider this on its own merits.
Overall thoughts: Do NOT SNOOP ON HIS PHONE. Nothing good comes of that. Also, I find it obnoxious that the tongue-out winking emoji is sitting right on her butt. Why is it there at all? Isn’t that a playful and semi-sarcastic emoji? Is Cosmo not SINCERE about people not settling? If you’re going to muck up your cover with cartoon faces, at least make sure they aren’t undercutting your meaning — or licking your cover subject’s rump. Come on. [Note: Someone in the comments said she saw a different one on the newsstand, and this is the only photo of it I can find online. The love cover line instead says, "YOU DESERVE BETTER SEX," and then, "You'll Never Fake It Again." But the only one being circulated by Cosmo is this one. INTERESTING.]
As for the lady herself: Zendaya is, as we’ve all trumpeted on the site and in the comments, crazy charismatic. It’s to her credit that this even remotely works. I do think she seems like way more fun than this outfit, though, which is basically a suit mixed with a cheerleading uniform. If the idea is that she’s wearing a blazer because she’s talking about commanding respect… that’s a bit boring. She’s more powerful than that. Indeed, this pose as a whole is not as fierce as I would want it to be for a story that says, “Protect yourself and command respect,” which I guess is the side effect of shooting the cover so far ahead of when they do the actual interview. You don’t know what you’re going to get. But with a person like Zendaya, surely you could assume. I want her unique flavor of confidence, not some refried template.
And if you think I’m kidding about the refried template, take a look at the cover side-by-side with one they already did three years ago with Nina Dobrev.