Fug or Fab the Cover: Scarlett Johansson on French Vanity Fair


This is apparently the first-ever issue of Vanity Fair France, so it amuses me that they photographed Scarlett Johansson looking like she’s arriving somewhere terribly late and bursting through a door.

This woman is beautiful, and chic, and so very rushed in a sexy, polished, chiseled-and-blow-dried way, like women in perfume commercials who drift through looking purposeful and flipping their spun-gold hair while men swivel their heads to inhale one more wisp of divine feminine mystery.

I don’t generally think of Scarlett Johansson as that woman. But, and this is my real quibble here, nor do I think of this woman as Scarlett Johansson. Because she looks very little like Scarlett Johansson. he more I stare at it, the more I see it, but it takes a while to settle over me. You could have told me it was Sienna Miller and I might have believed it. You probably also could have told Scarlett Johansson it was Sienna Miller and had her believe it. I do love magazine covers that transport us somewhere else, and show us a celebrity in an entirely new way, but there’s a difference between exiting one’s comfort zone and exiting one’s own face (not that this is a particular departure from her comfort zone, either, as I’m confident in her life she’s exited a lot of hotel rooms in expensive clothes with jewelry and a blowout). Ergo, at heart, I’m sad that a magazine celebrating Scarlett Johansson has simultaneously diminished a lot of the features that make her discernibly Scarlett Johansson.

Or doesn’t it matter? I guess in her shoes, a lot of people might say that looking unrecognizable but hot is better than looking recognizable but mediocre. In that sense, this does beat the Katy Perry zombie-hayfever Vogue error, but then again, it was a low bar to clear.

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Comments (59):

  1. Annie E
    +6

    I see it more as Scarlett Johansson waiting sexily in the doorway for a visitor – the reader. I don’t think it’s the most original cover ever but I have no problems with it.

  2. julie
    +9

    I actually thought it was Ashley Benson from Pretty Little Liars before reading that it is ScarJo.

    • Alicia
      +1

      OMG, yes. I definitely thought “What is Hanna doing on the cover of French Vogue?” (or rather, “Wow, Hanna looks a lot better without the shiny pants and ratty extensions — so much better that they put her on French VF! Mona will plotz”) when I saw this.

      • Alicia
        +1

        Blah, French Vanity Fair, not Vogue. ( <— this mix-up = further evidence of how generally discombobulating this photo is.)

      • G
        +1

        The extensions are SO BAD, right?!?!? They are killing me this season!

        • Faith
          0

          This week’s show made me wish that A would somehow plot to cut off her hair into the cute shoulder-length style she had at the end of last season again. Come on, A! We know you hate those extensions as much as we all do, bitch!!!

    • Faith
      0

      ME TOO! I was visiting the comments section to make sure someone else saw that resemblance as well, and I feel vindicated now. Thank you, julie. :D

    • CoCo TheUntameable Wine
      0

      SPOT on!! That’s exactly who it looks like

  3. Dazie
    +2

    Who is that? Not ScarJo. She (at one point) had boobs.

    This looks more like some pouty best friend in a teen movie.

    • Miranda
      +5

      Her boobs shrunk when she got super fit for Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. This is why I am totally paranoid about doing upper body workouts. I don’t want to have to buy any after all these years!

  4. Robin
    +5

    I’m even getting a Natalie Dormer vibe.

    • Alice
      0

      I was coming here to say how surprised I was to read that it was Scarlett, since it looks exactly like Natalie Dormer.

  5. jenelope
    +23

    I think this cover looks like Scarlett Johanssen styled to look like Catherine Deneuve. And there are a lot worse directions one could go.

    • maryse
      +4

      yes! i was going to say it looked like a french scarlet johanssen. but she is recognizable.

      • Edith
        +4

        Exactly. I absolutely recognize her, and love that they went in a direction other than “Bombshell” to express how beautiful she is.

    • LB
      +1

      My thoughts exactly.

  6. Jilly
    +3

    I think it’s because the makeup washes her lips out. I watched about 45 minutes of Girl With the Pearl Earring last night on Ovation — before I got so terribly bored and had to turn it off — and she had this lovely, shiny, red lipstain in that film. It helped her look like ScarJo even with the period headgear and no other (visible) makeup. Without the cupid’s bow mouth she lacks her signature voluptuousness.

  7. Barbara
    +8

    I’m okay with both unrecognizable but hot OR recognizable and fine. This is neither hot or recognizable.

  8. Jennifer B
    +1

    Who IS that? It looks nothing like her!

  9. Beth
    +5

    Maybe it’s because I was playing catch-up on the blog today and I just read the “Mannequin” fromage… but all I can see is Kim Cattrall the-way-she-might-have-been at that age today.

  10. Brenna
    +3

    What the hell did they do to her torso? She has a tiny waist, but it looks minuscule (I think the arm position on the photo’s left side is making it look worse), and her chest looks almost non-existent. Her head looks smaller than normal too. Wonky photoshop or something.

  11. Kristan
    +3

    I knew exactly who it was, and I think she looks fabulously elegant. :)

  12. Blair's Head Band
    +5

    I can’t believe Heather & Jessica didn’t include “No, I wouldn’t buy it because I don’t speak French.”

    (I do, but I’d pass.. ScarJo looks half asleep…. tant pis!)

    • Goldfish
      +3

      You even speak French and wouldn’t buy it? Damn. That’s a harsh, harsh commentary.

    • Sajorina
      0

      I speak French and I sooooo would buy it! I’d buy it even if I didn’t… Je l’aime que beaucoup!

    •  Squirrel!
      0

      I understand *some* French, and I’d look through this to see how much I could read. I could understand a fair amount of this cover, but I did not know “Platon” meant “Plato” (especially since it’s in all caps so I didn’t realize it was a proper noun). I thought it was going to be some kind of game, and I was wondering how a whole article could be written about Brad Pitt playing said game.

  13. kfletch
    +5

    I’m picking up a bit of vintage Michelle Pfeiffer here.

  14. Breda
    +9

    As myself, a private citizen, I’d prefer unrecognizable but hot. As a celebrity, I’d prefer recognizable but fine: you trade on having a recognizable face, and you become more famous the more people see you. It’s better for your stock to have people see your photo and go, “Wow, she’s way prettier than that cover, what did they do to her face?”

  15. Esme
    +3

    I would not have recognized her in a thousand years. She is so much more striking and distinctive looking than this.

  16. Tiffany
    +8

    Why did they light her face from the bottom? Her chin is light up, but her eyes cast shadows above them. I think that is what is making it look so distorted.

    • Mary Sue MacGuffin
      +6

      This caught my eye as well. Something about the way she’s lit reminds me of that old Twilight Zone episode “Eye of the Beholder.”

  17. Pound Sand
    +7

    It is very poorly lit.

  18. Goldfish
    +6

    When I was a very, very little girl, this picture completely encapsulates, in one image, what I thought adult life would be. All of it, all the time.

    So, it has nothing to do with ScarJo for me. Obviously, I would not buy this magazine out of sheer bitterness.

    But on a less painfully personal note, I agree with Esme that ScarJo herself is not as distinctive as she should be. More like a character she’s playing. She probably loves it for that reason, her agent probably hates it for that reason. Ah, Photoshop.

  19.  Stephanie
    +5

    I thought it was Ivanka Trump.

  20. Sandra
    0

    I look at this picture and see a highly-styled version of my sister’s kid. We are not related to the Johanssons, so it’s a bit problematic for me. (And since you ask; yes, my niece is a beautiful young woman.)

  21. CC
    +4

    ScarJo can look very different depending on how she is styled and photographed. A recent cover of a different magazine looked NOTHING like her. I actually think this looks like her and I think she looks gorgeous, though it’s not how she usually dresses so I guess that makes some of us do a double take. There is something very Catherine Deneuve 1980-something about this, but hey, even celebrities like to play dress up, right?

  22. zuzziebun
    +1

    I thought it was Kate Moss in the thumbnail

  23. G
    0

    The cover as a whole is really cluttered, especially for VF. Too much in the background, even if it’s all beige, and too many headlines.

  24. Patsy Acierno Lester
    +6

    I’m more interested in the quote that appears below the image, about her “living above a cafe where they play the accordion.” That’s sounds like riveting journalism.

  25. amys
    0

    I thought a young Joan Collins, with lighter hair.

  26. Ashleigh
    +1

    Um, at first glance I thought this was Ashley Benson. Then I read the title of the post and still wasn’t 100% convinced it was ScarJo!

  27. Sajorina
    +1

    I absolutely ADORE it! I love the dress, the jewelry, the hair & makeup and the very Parisian set! It screams French and I can’t get enough of it! Did I mentioned that I’m a Francophile, studied French in University and have been to Paris? Well, now you know! And I can totally tell that’s Scarlett Johansson, whom I love! A huge FAB from me, especially because she’s front and center and the lettering is not all up in my face!

    • Goldfish
      +1

      Not to mention that, from what I know of the French, they really don’t care if we like it or not, which I enjoy about them as a people.

  28. Bambi Anne Dear
    0

    I thought it was Kate Moss.

  29. JonesyGirl
    +1

    The McDonalds ad on the right of this page interested me far more. eh. Its fine.

  30. Eek!
    +2

    Well it captures her dead eyes beautifully…..

  31. HelenBackAgain
    +2

    They’ve done something very weird to her brows and put on way too much eye crayon. Not a fan.

    Terrible photo editing, too. Her body parts are all out of proportion with one another, which we all know is not remotely the case in reality, and one arm appears about a foot longer than the other.

    Also, that is one UGLY necklace.

  32. Nancy
    0

    To me, it looks like she’s about to be sick.

    Her features are hard to make out – something about the lighting and make up?

  33. K8
    +1

    This says it all: the star, like you’ve never seen her. (That’s what it says the article is about)

    • Bea
      0

      What K8 said. They went for something different on purpose so in that sense it worked. I can’t say I like the cover, though.

  34. Sammie
    0

    It’s bloody outrageous. Look at it! Its like a magic eye pic, the more you stare at it the more the picture comes out. It’s weird and uncomfortable! What kind of shitfight shamozzle have they got going on up there in Vanity Fair France or where ever it is? Scar Jo, Smar Jo, its ridiculous!

  35. Tessa
    +3

    What bothers me about the picture is the bad lighting. That white dress is lit much brighter than her face, so it draws your eyes somewhere around her midsection/pelvis. Good if you’re trying to sell the dress, bad if you’re trying to sell the person in it.

  36. Lizzie
    0

    I guess my real problem here is that ScarJo looks so much OLDER than she needs to.

  37. Kocevfashion
    0

    The new number of the American edition of Elle magazine arrives on newsstands 25th June, and Colombian singer Shakira graced the cover of this magazine.
    http://www.kocevfashion.com/shakira-on-the-cover-of-american-elle-magazine/

    • HelenBackAgain
      +2

      I am amazed that anyone is still trying that hard to make Shakira happen.

      • LibraryChick
        0

        Shakira is already successful in the Spanish-speaking world. I couldn’t get away from her music during a study abroad experience in Mexico, and that was almost 15 years ago. I think her singing is better in Spanish than in English, though, and I wish she would return to her natural hair color. I doubt anyone is trying that hard to make her happen in the U.S. This looks more like promotion of a fashion line or a magazine, but I can’t figure out why the robots picked a Scarlett Johansson post to do it. Someone needs to fix an algorithm.

  38. lindsay
    0

    my biggest issue with this cover is that she isn’t wearing the clothes well. the jacket is sort of puckering and gapping around her right shoulder in a way that is not appealing.

  39. Courtney
    +2

    I SWEAR this is Ashley Benson. I have to squint my eyes, and squish my face for it to look like ScarJo, but I saw it in the header and wondered what Ashley Benson was up to now.