Seriously: This cover shot is not in focus, right? I mean, I’m sure it’s an artistic choice, but nothing says, “Let’s make our older readers wonder if their sight is going” like a semi-focused cover shot.

Anyway, the interview is really pretty good. Cabello is clearly super-talented, and I like that a lot of this conversation is about her work — her writing process, and the way she sees herself as an artist. I also had to chuckle at this:

By now, the world is familiar with what happened between Cabello and Fifth Harmony. To put it bluntly, Cabello wanted more. She hated the groupthink and compromise of being creative with four other people (not to mention a herd of number-crunching A&R execs). She felt pressure to be sexy in away that she was not ready for, pressure to go along with the band, pressure to worry more about hurting people’s feelings than about making the best music she possibly could. “I would try to kind of rebel in my own way and wear turtlenecks or pants—which was allowed. Nobody ever put a gun to my head and was like, ‘You have to do this.’ But it was definitely moving in a certain direction and there was a group mentality, so you have to do it.”


Taylor Swift also makes a smart cameo:

Swift, however, had other ideas. “She was like, ‘People on the outside are never going to think about the story that you want to leave behind,’” Cabello recalls. “‘That’s yours, so you have to always protect that, because to other people it’s a song, but for you it’s something personal.’”

There’s also the required chitty-chat about her boyfriend (they’re very happy, but he’s a relationship coach so I would hope so!), but on the whole, I appreciated how much this piece was about her process. I’ve always said that Marie Claire and Elle are the two big American women-oriented glossies that are the most cognizant of the fact that their reader can handle some substance, and it’s nice to see that applied to their cover interviews, too.

[Cover: Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello]