Fug File: Fug The Cover

Fug the Cover: Demi Lovato on Cosmopolitan, September 2015

This cover has caused a bit of a stir, I gather, as there are some people who think it’s too racy for Cosmo’s usual place in the grocery store shelves and have been trying to cover it up, or turn it over, or just get it stricken altogether.

Demi Lovato on Cosmopolitan, Sept 2015

Demi released the following statement about it, which I saw on Instagram when Joanna Coles reposted it:

What these individuals who are protesting don’t understand is that for the first time in a long time I feel incredibly EMPOWERED and the MOST BEAUTIFUL I’ve ever felt on this magazine. [...] It took soul searching and a bit of time before I learned to embrace my body therefore I could not have been more excited to do this shoot. I think what’s more important is showing women there’s NOTHING WRONG with embracing their bodies and sexuality.

I have thoughts. The first one being, yes okay, you can see a lot of her cleavage, but how is this any MORE scandalous than Nicki Minaj’s cleavage-baring onesie, or a cover with SEX SEX SEX written all over it, or Madonna in bondage gear biting a string of what could be pearl anal beads for all anyone knows? Yes, it’s a gynecologically short dress, but honestly, her modeling it sideways actually takes AWAY a lot of the shock value of that, and sincerely, we’re seeing less of her cleavage than 90 percent of America has seen in Us Weekly or on a Jenndashian’s Instagram feed. I’m not saying we need to start sticking Penthouse down in the trenches with Cosmo and Glamour, but I do think this is a situation where people are going too far to try and shield the world from anything remotely challenging.

My second thought,though: While I have a lot of admiration for the head-on and bluntly honest way she’s dealt with and addressed her struggles, and am thrilled to see Demi saying that she to feels good in her own skin and proud of her body, this hardly LOOKS like her body. What’s more, it feels very specifically posed to show us as little of that body — aside from the cleav — as possible, which defeats the extremely inspiring and rousing purpose of celebrating a girl who’s come out the other side of eating, drug, and emotional issues. At first it felt like her head slapped on someone else’s form, but honestly, her face also looks significantly photoshopped. Look at her here, or even here because it’s a similar angle, and then check the cover again. Lord knows I’m not criticizing anyone for getting retouched; if Hell ever sprouted ice castles and I got put on a magazine cover, I would be like, “Great, FIX ME, make me blurry if that’s what you have to do.” But I’m not someone whose face is my brand, or who is trying to be a positive role model for young kids. Demi Lovato trades on her authenticity and honesty. If I were Demi, I’d look at this and sigh and say, “Yes, that girl is pretty, but I am ALSO pretty, and that girl is only barely ME.”

The situation inside is a little better and honestly, could’ve been a less troublesome cover all-around:

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Fug the Cover: Iggy Azalea on Seventeen, September 2015

I wonder how far ahead these magazines really plan their cover. Because back in June, after tour cancellations and racist tweets and other controversies, people were writing stories about whether Iggy Azalea’s improbable high-speed career was already kaput; Vulture even went so far as to suggest she needs to try and save it, and fast. She has virtually disappeared from sight, and although she claims she’s working on a 2016 album, I’ll be curious to see if she makes an appearance at the VMAs or stays underground. And I’m wondering if the team at Seventeen has been gnawing on its nails for the past three months, trying to figure out how to get through September without anyone being enraged at them. At best, this exposes that they plan far enough ahead to risk dating themselves.

iggy azalea seventeen

Amusingly, she doesn’t even really look like herself anymore (she addresses having had plastic surgery in the article), which I guess is one way to try and hide. This cover is very… even back when it was shot, it might’ve been a too-desperate attempt to preppy her up for its audience, because nothing about this seems to dovetail with anything Iggy has ever worn, or any vibe she has ever presented. I guess for someone who’s had her authenticity questioned ever since she first opened her mouth on a stage, that’s weirdly fitting. The effect, though, is alien. I don’t connect with who or what this is, or what anyone is peddling with it. Then again, seventeen is but a distant blot in my rearview at this point, so maybe it’s a backward compliment.


Fug or Fab the Cover: Kristen Stewart on Elle UK, September 2015

This cover has a lot of elements that are weird, but add up to a win.

Kristen Stewart: Elle UK, September 2015 cover

For example, Kristen’s hair looks like she spent three days in the ocean and then got in a convertible. Yet she looks smashing nonetheless. I am not a red-and-pink person, generally, but this is extremely eye-catching and fashion-y in all the right ways. And why is she dressed for a night at the theater in the middle of the jungle? Hakuna matata. Doesn’t matter. Her face sells the story that she maybe blew off that corporate bonding retreat because she met a surfer who gave her three days of unpredictable passion, before they had a huge fight and he pulled over in his pickup and let her out and now she’s trying to walk home and forage for snacks.

The lone flop is the position of her right hand — specifically, why is it pointing at her throat as if trying to beguile the reader into giving her an emergency tracheotomy. “Here,” she is saying. “Right here is where the Bic will go. You’ve seen it on ER. You can do it.” I assume THAT is not the one thing badass women do that makes them smarter. Speaking of, what are they saying there? That badass women only do one thing to improve themselves — OBJECTION — or that there is only one thing that makes a badass woman smarter than a regular woman? I would suggest they could’ve avoided that thorny situation, but they can’t even keep their cover model out of the weeds.


Well Played, More Or Less: Taylor Swift on Vanity Fair

With the caveat that this is so 80s, it could be outtakes from a secret project where T.Swizzle reboots the collective works of Judith Krantz. OMG TAYLOR, PLEASE DO THAT.

[Photos: Vanity Fair]


Well Played Cover: Nicole Kidman on Vogue Australia, September 2015

We just saw Nicole Kidman on Vogue U.S., photographed by Patrick Demarchelier no less, looking pinched and cranky — the opposite of how flowy and charming she was in their “73 Questions” video (in the same post). Now Vogue Australia has one-upped the Mothership with what I think is a gorgeous shot of her chilling at Uluru in her native land. In sum, the American cover makes you think, “Remember when Nicole Kidman was one of the great beauties of her time?” THIS reminds you that she still IS.


Fug and Fab the Covers: Various Elle Magazines, August 2015

I like a lot of things about this cover, but here’s one that I don’t: the cover line “What Hot Girls Know.” Because that’s Elle presenting The Hot Girl to you, handing the concept down from on high, as something that you the reader must not be – thereby implying not only implying we are all so very ordinary, but that being hot is aspirational and that The Wisdom of the Attractive is what’s missing in your life. For a magazine that purports to be for smart women, well-rounded ones, that comes across as disappointingly Lad Mag.  And terribly obnoxious.


Fug or Fab the Cover: Sarah Jessica Parker on Cosmopolitan, August 2015

Cosmo is REALLy into this one particular font right now: The same one from “Oh My Goddess” and other parts of this cover was the one they used last month to shriek about sex next to Nicki Minaj, and yes, also the one from May’s 50th Anniversary Sex Issue starring Madonna. It’s like they have a new toy they can’t put down.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Cosmopolitan, August 2015

Sidebar: I’ve given up on understanding how “HOT SUMMER SEX” differs from last month’s WILD SUMMER SEX” — much less from “SEX SO HOT” (June, and that same font again) or “SEX SEX SEX” (May). Do they get paid by the sextion — I mean, the mention?

Otherwise, I think SJP’s hair at least looks great. She is famously naturally curly, and while this may be the blown-out-and-recurled iteration of that, I still at least appreciate that she’s willing to be seen with waves in her hair (LE SIGH, Kidman and Keri Russell and Julianna Margulies). I wish the pose and the facial expression had a little more personality to it — a touch of Nice Girl to temper the fierce, showing she can be both — and a lot less tension in her mouth. But my real beef is the dress. It’s kind of Real Housewives, no? And am I crazy, or does this make her look like she has Anna Nicole-style falsies in there? Maybe she does; maybe it’s not an optical illusion. I don’t even mean it as a judgment. I just genuinely don’t think I have ever noticed her cleavage size before, and so I’m unaccustomed to having them greet me so enthusiastically. But I do know this: Nothing has ever made me so grateful to have dated in the Stone Age than the phrase “Decode His Snapchats.” That sounds mentally exhausting and like a recipe for a Lifetime movie that doesn’t end in the woman’s favor.