As ever, I am HERE FOR T&Cs cover lines. I do need a Yacht Girl Summer (or at least to know about it, if it’s unseemly). What did the nanny know? Please tell me how to name drop more effectively! The covers themselves, as photos, are of varying degrees of success but I do very much want to read this issue by a pool, so….mischief managed, yes?

The profiles are actually also more or less quite good; please let me continue to praise magazines for mostly hiring journalists again! I haven’t said it enough in this pandemic and I mean it: THANK YOU, MAGAZINES. But beyond that — and more importantly! — it’s always inspiring to hear about folks who are using their money and voice to help people. The Pharrell Williams piece is sad and thoughtful and poignant, opening with an incredibly tragic story about his cousin Donovan Lynch, who was shot and killed by the police, and I learned a lot about him (like, for example, he’s given a tremendous amount of money, in more or less secret, to World Central Kitchen).  The profile of Taraji B. Henson is also great, and primarily about her work in mental health in the Black community. It’s really interesting, and she’s so empathetic:

Black men and boys face myriad societal challenges that affect their mental health, including racial bias, police brutality, health disparities, and generational trauma. How does this affect them?

They have to be the strongest, and they aren’t allowed to be vulnerable. If I’m to be in a relationship with a Black man, how is that going to work if he’ll never show me his vulnerability? Where’s the balance there? Black men are suffering. Look at how the world treats them. And then Covid hit, and we had to find the power to switch the narrative. Look at how many people—Black people, people of color—we were able to help during this pandemic. What I learned about men is that men need to be nurtured and singled out, because they often just don’t feel heard.

She just comes across as really thoughtful, and devoted to her causes, which I’m sure she is. I also feel like I learned a lot about her, which is always an accomplishment in pieces about folks who are already pretty famous and have been for a while; I think this is one of the reasons I always enjoy T&C’s Philanthropy issue, to be frank. We really do get to hear more about what is sincerely important to a celebrity, and they’re always thoughtful and passionate about it (and excited for someone to actually ask them about it, I suspect). It’s refreshing.

The profile of Hugh Evans fills the “this is just a philanthropist who isn’t really a celebrity” slot that T&C always has, and it actually isn’t written by a journalist but instead by Julia Gillard, the former prime minister of Australia (!!??!!!). I also originally assumed Mr. Evans was in the Rich Person Who Isn’t Otherwise Famous slot for these covers but, now having read the piece, I don’t think he’s some kind of secret kajillionaire. Unfortunately, Ms. Gillard did not really give me a lot of a background about a person who is not actually very well-known to your average American; the article is kinda more about what she thinks of him than him, and then she just plonks in a bunch of incredibly glowing interview bites from other VERY FANCY people about him, and then it just ends. And when I say “fancy,” I’m talking from Idris Elba to John Kerry to the current prime minister of Norway (!) to the freaking current deputy secretary of the UN?!?!! (It’s probably much easier to get a quote from John Kerry for your T&C piece if you used to be the prime minister of Australia.) Despite a long chunk of amazing accolades from important people, I felt like I never got a handle on who this person really is. (I had a moment reading it when I wondered if I was already supposed to know this guy, and also for a second I thought maybe he was Luke Evans.) Listen — writing a good profile is hard. God knows, I couldn’t be the prime minister of Australia. But just let’s consider this whole paragraph my shout-out to the person editing this profile who knew she or he could not really go back to the former prime minister of Australia with notes to, say, expand this bit, or write an actual kicker. I see you and I salute you, editor! You had a tricky assignment with this one!

But we can close with an honestly excellent profile of Marlo Thomas, who is a delight and has posed with a beautiful dog in her interior shots. She obviously talks a lot about St Jude, and her father’s work in starting it, and the truly tremendous and frankly rather astonishing amount of good it has done for sick kids. She is what my mother would call a real go-getter, and it’s infectious. She also says this:

When President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014, the inscription concluded with “Ms. Thomas inspires us all to dream bigger and reach higher.” At the ceremony Thomas’s thoughts turned to her grandparents. She imagined them arriving with their scant belongings, happy to be in a country that offered opportunity. “I tried not to weep, but the tears were coming down my face,” Thomas says. “I kept thinking, This is the possibility of America. This is why immigrants are so important. We must remember that.”

I got a little weepy!

[Covers: Pharrell Williams by Micaiah Carter, Taraji B. Henson by Erik Carter, Hugh Evans and Marlo Thomas by Amanda Demme]