The timing of this cover is both perfect and unfortunate for Sarah, because Modern Family is over, and she’s figuring out her next act, but it’s tough to be on a newsstand or in an airport at a time when nobody is at newsstands or in airports. That’s a bummer because it’s a kicky and eye-catching shot, if also silly –that is more than a giant hat; it’s sincerely ENORMOUS. But I have notes. For one thing, it’s really male-gaze-y to have added, even in teeny text, “The best day of this hat’s life,” simply because it’s laying flat against her presumably nude body. Do better, Cosmo; you’re not Maxim. I also had to look up “Instagram bath” to see if it was not self-explanatory, and I just… don’t care, AND think it’s ridiculous to allege that Instagram baths are the only reason to bathe. Plus, I always complain about a cover design that has to hyphenate a word (come on, figure out how to fit it), and some of that text is Too Damn Small You Guys. FURTHER: I refuse to mourn the group chat because I’m currently in several that are keeping my relationships alive, including one with my mom and sisters. And the specificity of that bottom left headline makes me laugh, as if there are a ton of women out there who are going to sit back and gasp, “Wait… YES, my boyfriend DOES aggressively insist he’s 35!” and then hop on their group chats to check if they’re alone in this (before apparently deleting their group chats). So, it’s a cute enough cover thanks to Sarah, but it’s undermining itself in other ways.

Funny thing: When I was compiling Sarah Hyland’s fugtrospective — which was much cuter than I expected, by the way, in case you missed it — there were a few times she and Lucy Hale were in the same slideshow and I briefly confused them. Then, when reading this story, the author mentions that Sarah Hyland uses an energy healer whom she got from Lucy Hale. And THEN, in getting ready to write this, I realized we’d never covered March’s Cosmo cover, which features… Lucy Hale. And the covers have one other thing in common:

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We are told Lucy is breaking rules. We are told Sarah Hyland “did everything we told her not to,” a.k.a., is a rule-breaker. Even Cosmo essentially treated them as kin. (And yes, by the way, both are featured inside with food: Sarah pretending to eat a giant slice of wedding cake, and Lucy appearing to drop a giant tub of soft-serve. We’ve eye-rolled at length Cosmo’s obsession with making starlets eat or appear to eat, and they are nothing if not predictable.)

It’s also worth noting that neither story follows through on its advertisement. Unless the cover line is referencing something that happened at the shoot, detailed in a video segment I skipped — very possible — the cover story never once mentions asking Sarah Hyland to do or not to do anything. (Also, why does Cosmo make it sound like the cover was something she won specifically by being a rebel?) And Lucy Hale’s bad-girl rule-breaking? That involves… wait for it… PIERCINGS (gasp!) and TATTOOS (clutch pearls!) and being willing to date John Mayer even though he has a horrible reputation (okay, seriously, Lucy, that is a terrible idea; don’t do it, no matter how much you like musicians).

Lucy’s cover lacks the energy of Sarah’s, which is a bummer; I like Lucy Hale and think she’s charismatic in pretty much every show she does. Both articles are fine, if flimsy. Lucy gets a piercing in hers, but she touches on some nice stuff pursuant to the pressures of going through her twenties while playing a teenager for years on end, and then gives us this about a haircut people were apparently surprised by:

“It was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done,” she says of the sudden decision to chop off about eight inches of her dark-brown hair. People still come up to Lucy to tell her they liked it better before. And by “people,” she means men. “I couldn’t tell you the amount of times when guys were like, ‘You should grow your hair out again. I like long hair.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not cutting my fucking hair for you.’ I cut my hair for me. And I feel great with it this way.”

Sarah’s is a bit of an advertisement, making mention of all the projects she’d REALLY like to do now that she has the time and freedom to do them — that’s not a criticism; she’s gotta get the word out — and also wants us to believe she’s just a regular messy girl who thinks Urban Outfitters is too expensive (true). She comes across well enough, getting in a diplomatic swing about the way producers chose to wrap up Haley’s arc on Modern Family. With the caveat that I haven’t watched about 7 out of the show’s 10 seasons, I do agree with the points she made based on my general knowledge of it. This line, not from her, is peculiarly what set my teeth on edge:

If you think Sarah was waiting for a rose though, lol: “I asked him when he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend,” she says. “I’m impatient.”

I am never a huge fan of text slang in professional writing, but I’m sure we all slip into it here and there. For some reason, though, “lol” dropped so casually here really made me want to fold myself into an envelope and mail myself to another dimension. If I can find one, I’ll let you know. We can go together.

[Photos: Cosmo]