Fug the Cover: Blake Lively on Allure

Dear Allure:

I have a lot of thoughts about this cover. They might get screechy. May I number them? Okay then:

1) No begrudging Blake’s genetic blessings, but come on: Everyone in the world is sick of reading about celebrities who insist all the skinny and the beauty and the perfection come so easily to them.

2) You are even ADMITTING as much with that parenthetical underneath the cover line, as if to say, “Isn’t that SUPER ANNOYING? But really, she’s nice,” in the same way somebody trying to set up a friend on a blind date might say, “Jimmy chews with his mouth open sometimes, but really, he’s super sweet and a great friend.”

3) It’s really uninspiring to your readers — who, because they are gobbling up your recommended products that make their hair and skin better, presumably DO have to try — to read about people who apparently DON’T EVER have to try. It doesn’t even matter what the story itself actually says; you’re already undercutting it with that choice of cover line.

4) This one might be among the most important: There is NO WAY that is the most interesting thing about Blake Lively, who is from a quasi-showbiz family (her sister is Teen Witch!) and went from Traveling Pants to Chanel in a hella fast period of time and has launched a movie career for herself in which she’s largely well-reviewed. So it seems strange to hope people will buy your magazine by reducing her to the single most annoying celebrity stereotype short of, “I stay fit just by running around after my kids.” A story that listed only the hair products she uses would be more apt to get me to pick up this issue.

5) I think the sans serif font you’re using for some of those cover lines makes Allure look kind of cheap, and also, super wordy — if you’re stamping stuff all over Blake’s MILLIONAIRE HAIR, then at least make the text look nice (I don’t know why I hate it so much but I clearly do).

6) Although Blake herself looks nice and natural, you managed to pick a photo in which her eyes seem a little glazed, in a frightened or shocked way. Imagine if you were at lunch with her, and you announced, “I’m shaving my head, becoming a Scientologist, eating only food that has been cooked by the flame of a burning pile of tires, tattooing John Mayer’s face on my chest so that my nipples are his eyes, and then going back to school to become a professional gun cleaner, AND I’VE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER.” You would see this expression on Blake’s face as she listened and nodded and tried to remain impassive while swallowing rising panic as she privately wondered, “Are we good enough friends for me to tell her that this plan is INSANE, or do I just have to nod and support her and then get the hell out of here and text somebody about this?”

7) Unfortunately, people who are not a weird as I am might interpret that look as, “What? You actually DO have to watch what you eat and work out and stuff? Dear God, are you a PEASANT or something?” and that does neither her nor you any favors.

8 ) Her makeup and eyebrows look great. What? I decided to end on a positive.


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Comments (45):

  1. Kara

    I can take or leave Jessica Alba and Jamie Pressley, but one thing I do like is that they acknowledge that losing baby weight was hard. I saw an interview (it might have been on Ellen) where Jamie Pressley said she started working out again when her son was ten days old. Ten days after giving birth, she was in the gym. Jessica Alba said her workouts were so hard she was in tears. I’d much rather hear “Yeah, I live on celery and run ten miles a day” than “I dunno, I guess I just have a fast metabolism!”

    Too long: I, too, am sick of being fed the effortless perfection illusion.

  2. Holly Hamilton

    I have a few friends who more or less look like Blake and yes, they don’t work at it. They don’t eat either. It’s not a choice they decide each day, it’s just a natural part of life to only eat lettuce and no-cal jello cups. They don’t exercise because they are lethargic and so thin anyway it won’t matter much. They are naturally blond, golden, and pretty so everything else is just gilding the lily.
    Hard as it might be to accept, some people are indeed born with the goods.
    But great style! That takes some work!

    • kalua

      She’s still so young. At her age I could eat A LOT and not gain weight (my workout was daily night-clubbing by the way). She looks rather normal actually, no signs of anorexia (yet), and she’s tall. I really don’t understand why everyone seem to hate her lately!

      • Chasmosaur

        I saw a snippet of this interview somewhere, where she admits that she’s young and her metabolism is good. And then she said – “In a few more years, I’ll need to have a new secret, as in an incredibly strict diet regime.” I don’t know if it’s actually true, but if it is, I find it refreshing that she’ll cop to the fact that she doesn’t have to work at it. Some people are lucky that way.

        I knew so many girls in college who lived on pizza, beer and ice cream and never worked out and were so skinny. Whereas I have a crap metabolism and watched everything I ate and worked out so intensively only the athletes in my dorm would work out with me – the other girls thought I was crazy. But it was what it took – and stil takes – for me.

        If you can lose or maintain easily? Count your blessings (and your endocrine system ;) )

  3. Stefanie

    I do not for a split second believe she doesn’t exercise or diet. Well, she may not “diet” but you know damn well she isn’t chowing down on Taco Bell and ordering Mozza sticks when she goes out to dinner. I imagine her as a ” I LOVE salmon served on a bed of kale! and Sometimes when I’m feeling really indulgent I’ll have a quarter cup of frozen yoghurt with 5 almonds on top for dessert” type of person.

    But that face? You cannot deny she is gorgeous. Even with all that type on top of it.

    • CreLa

      She is from a wealthy family and has money, so she has probably had access to great, healthy food her whole life and maintained those preferences without realizing it.
      I believe her when she says she isn’t dieting per se, but she is fortunate to have had a great diet available and food security.
      It is a very sad fact of the obesity epidemic that processed, unhealthy foods (taco bell) are the cheapest.
      She also seems to work a lot and be an active person, so I don’t think she is lying about not having a vigorous workout routine (and for her this is probably relative to celebrities who run 6mi/day followed by 3 hrs of yoga). I am 25 and most of my girlfriends have similar figures by not eating terribly, but are very active and constantly working or on the go.

  4. Sarah

    Oh no, the deadeye American Apparel stare rears its creepy head again. This cover is not as bad as some other recent ones–but I find it hard to imagine there wasn’t at least one shot with some life in her eyes. That said, I love the more natural brows on her.

  5. amys

    At least her boobs aren’t in my face. Her expression is perplexing.

  6. Sajorina

    I won’t FUG her picture… I think she looks quite LOVELY! But all the Font 72 letters surrounding her bother me and make me dizzy, so I’m going to FUG Allure for THAT! So annoying!!! We are lucky we get to see her face in a sea of meaningless words! And, in her defense, my sister is 29 y/o, 5’4″, a size 0 and 110 lbs. NATURALLY, all of which I am NOT… She eats whatever she wants whenever she wants and doesn’t exercise at all! If she weren’t an awesome sister, I’d hate her!

    • Kara

      Of course naturally thin people exist. I used to know someone who put ranch dressing on everything (she’d dip pizza in it bite by bite) and the most exercise she got was walking to her car. She was tall and thin because her dad (who also ate junk food – he drank soda by the gallon – and didn’t exercise) was tall and thin. It’s totally possible that Blake Lively doesn’t work out, and she certainly has some “genetic blessings.” But it seems like the vast majority of female celebrities swear up and down that they don’t work at their appearances. What’s wrong with saying you work hard to look a certain way, either because the business you’re in demands it or you just like looking that way?

      • Megan

        RE: Why celebs don’t actually tell us how much they work at their looks

        I totally love it when I hear celebrities talk about how much work goes into their appearances, especially if they’re saying it as “This business is so f’ed up that I need to spend four hours a day working out. DON’T try this at home.”

        • Kit

          I wish I could remember who it was, but there was a televison actress who said pretty much that a few years back. Something like “I haven’t eaten in ten years and I excercise constantly. I’m doing isometrics right now!” which I thought was amazing and really, really honest.

        • Jen S 2.0

          I think it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus with the “I eat nothing good and I work out all the time … in fact, I’m working out RIGHT NOW.” Made me love her all the more.

          (Ha, that said “I thin it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus” before I fixed it.)

      • Kristan

        “But it seems like the vast majority of female celebrities swear up and down that they don’t work at their appearances.”

        Which is why I love Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansson for their recent attempts to call people (in all directions) out on their bullshit:

        Anne: http://imarollingthunder.tumblr.com/post/28008462222

        Scarlett: http://www.dollymix.tv/2012/05/scarlett_johansson_sums_up_ind.html

        (And of course, they’re witty when they do it. Because they have to be.)

  7. edotwoods


  8. Kat

    I would mostly agree about the sans serif. A narrower sans serif would definitely look nicer, but their type treatment is still atrocious. Plus, I hate that they mixed two distinctly different styles of type of the cover. BLEHCK.

    Blake looks lovely, if not a little absent.

  9. Annie E

    I just love this post so much. I like Blake Lively, but a cover line that basically says “You will NEVER EVER be like Blake Lively” is not a cover line that makes me buy a magazine. Indeed, if it said “How to Get Blake Lively’s Hair (Really!)” I might take a look.

  10. Jennifer

    You are right about this being the least interesting thing about her- it’s like they didnt try. I’d love to see the press really dig into all the wonderful things about her that we haven’t heard yet during her “rising star” phase!

  11. Patrice

    “tattooing John Mayer’s face on my chest so that my nipples are his eyes”

    I kind of want to see how that would turn out.

  12. cathy

    am i the only who thinks that she’s really not that pretty? she always looks manish or like a drag queen. everyone is gushing about her hair i just don’t see what the big deal is. lucy hale? now that is one awesome hair…

    • Helen

      I do think she’s very pretty, but I don’t get it about the hair either.

      And the uninspired styling on this cover is not helping! I think they just told her to come in with it unwashed and then left it as it was.

      • Liza

        I agree – she is SO over-rated. She’s also had a nose job, too. I don’t get the fuss about this girl at all. She has connections & a good publicist I guess

  13. Kit

    Well… here’s the thing. I’ve always been “pleasantly plump”. I mean, from babyhood on, I’ve always had “extra thick epidermis” as I learned to call it in grade 7 with b cup breasts and no hips.

    My sisters on the other hand had flat tummies and full breasts and curving hips and they ate, ENDLESSLY and never gained a pound.

    Now we’re in our 50′s and they’re STILL slim with full breasts and curving hips and I’m thin too (with my b breasts that have been the same size since I was 12 and slim hips); but they continue to eat like every meal is their last meal and I do 40 minutes of cardio 6 days a week and work out 3 days a week and watch what I eat.

    And I have two sons – both tall, both athletic, with ripped abs and “big guns” as they call them (lol). But one of them works out every day and watches what he eats and the other one – you guessed it – has literally never worked out a day in his life and developed those “ripped abs” when he was ten and eats vast quanities of food to absolutely no ill effect.

    Sometimes life just ain’t fair. :\

  14. PegMN

    A quote from Julianne Moore –
    “I still battle with my deeply boring diet of, essentially, yogurt and breakfast cereal and granola bars. I hate dieting. I hate having to do it to be the ‘right’ size. I’m hungry all the time. I think I’m a slender person, but the industry apparently doesn’t. All actresses are hungry all the time, I think.” – Shape Magazine

  15. Sami

    Heather, I love this letter to Allure. You are the best!

  16. annmartina

    On first glance I thought, “Wow, Heather Locklear looks better than I thought she would these days”

  17. Nicole

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with font issues!!

  18. Debbie Thomas

    She may not diet and exercise NOW, but in 25 years she’ll regret it. Believe me…I know. :D

  19. TonyG

    I want to learn to let go like Heather. Writing like this must feel so great after its done.

  20. Vandalfan

    The heck? You think unbuttoning her shirt- oh, they just HAD to- and showing her frizzy humidity thwarted hair is flattering? Those hideous caterpillar eyebrows, the unpleasantly highlighted face, flattering? Shirley, you jest.

  21. Kim

    Okay, first of all, she *totally* exercises, because we’ve all had to look at those pictures of her and Ryan going to/returning from the gym and read about how they exercise together (which while inspiring hella envy does at least get us all to that place where we can close our eyes and imagine sweaty Ryan working on his delts).

    Where was I? Oh.

    Second of all, dead right about the crappy font, plus what is up with all the *centering* instead of flush right and flush left to frame the celebrity photo instead of traipsing all over it? Hello, Allure? Are your interns mocking up covers now?

    Finally, are those *bags* under her eyes? Too many late nights up planning a sneaky wedding, I guess. (Mazel tov, honey, and the handsome husband too.)

  22. anne p.

    On board with this entire post, Heather. At the risk of sullying the import of the thing with 2 tiny personal notest …. (1) The peekaboo deal with her shirt and bra is laughable – just plain silly; and (2) On this cover anyway, she looks like half the girls at our local college.

  23. Erin

    Most of the Allure covers scare me — they’re just so much FACE. It’s okay to be less severe on the cropping, folks. As for the magazine itself, I said “nay” after a two-issue trial in which 90% of the ads were for accessible products like drug store make-up brands and hair products, but 99% of the featured products in the articles were upwards of several hundred dollars. Not saying that a gal who wears Revlon lipstick won’t spring for a fancy pair of shoes, but let’s be less schizophrenic about your target readership.

    • Jen S 2.0

      Word on that. It wasn’t Allure, but I read some magazine article once about Splurges and Steals. All of the “steals” were under $100, and it contained as examples $4 lipstick and $98 sunglasses. Dear magazines: No one — NO ONE! — who regularly buys $4 lipstick thinks $98 for sunglasses is a steal. (Unless it’s highway robbery, in which case I am the VICTIM, not the perpetrator.)

  24. Alayne

    How old is she? Under 30? I didn’t have to do much at that age either and looked great. Then 40 hit. Wham. Now it’s all I can do just to lose 10 pounds. But I’m happier with myself than I ever have been because I have decided to accept myself for who I am. By the way, I think she looks great! Maybe a happier expression would be good. Who picks out these pictures anyway? Out of the 100s of shot the photographer took, THIS is the pic they chose?

  25. Shoeniverse

    She looks old here, I think professional stylists should be able to do more with those eyebrows too.


  26. Corriner

    While I definitely take issue with the formatting of this cover, I am just SO HAPPY that she is not photoshopped to the point where she is unrecognizable. This looks like Blake! Its refreshing!

  27. anny

    You hate the cover type because it is screaming “Better Homes & Gardens” at you. Also for some reason it’s got a Pillsbury’s Best burst on it. But I see their logotype is – gulp – distressed, so they probably think digital watches are pretty neat too.

  28. pantsonfire

    The line about the John Mayer tattoo is terrific. Really terrific.

  29. Genesis P. Olenta

    well, at least the picture doesn’t seem super-super-photoshopped, which is rather refreshing.

  30. Eli

    Teen Witch FTW. Top that!

  31. tigerstripes

    I remember Minnie Driver explaining her 60-pound weight loss to Letterman, ‘I just ate salads for three months.’ And then, over ten years later, it comes out that she worked out with the best trainer in L.A. to lose that weight. I still haven’t forgiven her.

    But when a gushing red carpet reporter asked Megan Fox ‘How do you stay so thin?’, she blurted out, ‘I starve myself. Um, I mean, Pilates.’ and I’ll never stop loving her a little bit for that.

  32. K8899

    Personally I think she has the glazed expression thing going in more photos than not.

  33. ccm800

    To quote Jackie Collins “It’s called cocaine”

  34. Robin

    “MILLIONNAIRE HAIR” just makes me think, “…Donald Trump?”