Fug File: Fug The Cover

Fug or Fab the Cover: Margot Robbie on Vanity Fair

Before we dig into the charcuterie of mung that is the actual profile of Margot Robbie, let’s check out the cover itself:

Margot Robbie on Vanity Fair's July 2016 issue

It’s better than the Vogue cover, on which she was (I assume inadvertently) painted like a Goldfinger victim, but it’s also a weird combination of looking like Naomi Watts and an SI: Swimsuit Issue photograph. I also don’t know that I would have gone with the subhead about her on the cover, because the story has little to do with that. It’s The Summer of Margot Robbie. Just stick with that and don’t try to parse the point of a profile that is pointless and unparseable. Don’t believe me? JUST YOU WAIT.

Actually, don’t. Let’s get into it now. In fact, let’s start with the very first line. And I must warn you that this profile made me SUPER CRANKY, so if you don’t want that, close this tab. If you’re down with the crabby, then proceed.

it begins poorly


Well Played: Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas on Teen Vogue

I love these covers. If I were a teen, I would run out and buy them; if I were the mother of a teen, I’d be delighted to see them arrive in the mail:

These covers are, simply put, utterly great. Both Simone and Gabby look like the strong, confident, supremely talented young women that they are. There is no weird fashion-mag artifice here; no decision was made to put them in some kind of directional, glossy milieu. Obviously, they’re both very pretty, and these are compelling photographs, but part of what is wonderful about these covers is that they’re primarily focused on how good Simone and Gabby are at what they do. I particularly love that Teen Vogue chose to run a photo of Simone where she’s lightly covered in chalk dust — it’s got a beautiful effect on the image, like an Instagram filter, except it’s actually a tool that she uses to dominate at work every day:

This quote, from Gabby’s interview, is likewise great:

Gabby’s mother (who doubles as her manager), Natalie Hawkins, reflects: “I remember when everyone was talking about her arms, and she became very self-conscious about how muscular they were. Then Gabrielle saw the elegance with which Serena Williams handled all the negative criticism of her own body. It was liberating for my daughter to see that. She said, ‘I don’t have to apologize to anyone about my body. My body is beautiful.’”


(You can read interviews with both women in whole at Teen Vogue.)

[Photos: Jason Kibbler, Teen Vogue]


Fug or Fab the Cover: Zendaya on Cosmopolitan, July 2016

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.

Read More


Fug the Covers: Various InStyle Editions

InStyle‘s U.S. editions seem to be trying to skew a little more Vogue with their covers, and a little less That Stodgy Old Magazine That Piles Up At The Hairdresser And Never Gets Thrown Out. I’m not sure if I think it’s working, but I DO think the makeover — however slight — was overdue.

[Photos: InStyle U.S. and U.K.]


Your Afternoon Man: Dwyane Wade on ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue

This more or less speaks for itself.

He may be out of his comfort zone, but he’s pretty squarely in mine. In other words: HELLO.


Fug or Fab the Cover: Amy Schumer on Vogue, July 2016

I’m really torn about this cover, although there is one thing I LOVE here: The “Let Curls Be Curls” cover line. AMEN, Anna.


As for the rest, I need to work through it.

Pro: Her hourglass is well-represented. They didn’t Photoshop her into oblivion.

Con: The eye makeup makes her look like she hasn’t slept in three days.

Pro: The lipstick is aces.

Con: The hair is bedhead.

Pro: Bedhead is okay sometimes.

Con: I’m not sure this, in combination with the eyes, looks like Groovy Bedhead as much as “I just closed my eyes for a sec on this grassy knoll — is it still Sunday?”

Pro: I do like that Amy has stormed this particular fortress.

Con: I also feel like they storyboarded this cover idea with a silhouette bearing the label “INSERT WHATEVER CELEBRITY HERE, IT DOESN’T MATTER,” and then shoehorned Amy into it.

Pro: The… grass is nice and green?

Con: She says she doesn’t want to play the game, but redefine it; doesn’t this cover feel like it’s redefining nothing?

Pro: Maybe that’s part of her statement. Maybe the reason she looks like she just woke up in a field after the Prom is because she’s trying to tweak the Vogue-on-a-meadow conventions.

Con: That interpretation might be a reach, though.

Pro: Stilettos are back!

Con: Were stilettos really ever gone?

Pro: That Versailles show looks really dishy.

Con: “Unique Chic: The New Season’s Standout Style” is more Vague than Vogue.

click for the poll and an excerpt


Fug or Fab the Cover: Margot Robbie on Vogue, June 2016

Well, it’s certainly no accident that on the “golden summer” cover, with a story about bronzer, Margot Robbie looks like she is auditioning for a Goldfinger remake.

Margot Robbie on Vogue, June 2016

It’s not a terrible cover, in the sense that I DEFINITELY feel the advent of summer. But I think painting Margot Robbie so heavily in this artificial, blinding, reflective fake tan actually just washes out her looks. For comparison, look at this photo of her from April:

"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" World Premiere - Arrivals

I just think she looks better when she’s allowed to have some variety. On the Vogue cover, I just want to run over to her and offer her some SPF and a parasol.

[Photos: Vogue, Getty]