First, and of utmost importance: When did Self change their font? I like it.

Second: This cover is…fine! It’s fine. Self  has been digital-only for going on five years and I always think it’s interesting when a digital publication has a proper “cover.” It’s definitely more for PR, but that obviously works — after all, here we are covering it! And it not being on newsstands probably gives the staff a lot more latitude in terms of what they do. I remember MANY years ago, I was talking to Kim France about Lucky covers, and, if I’m recalling this correctly, she told me that covers with a smile just sold so much better than ones without (which makes sense for a magazine like Lucky, RIP). I imagine removing that kind of consideration from your decision-making process leads to more variety in cover shots. Having said all that, K. Bell might look a tiny bit like she’s thinking about sneezing here.

Third: The real star here is the profile itself, which is very good. It’s lengthy and wide-ranging and more revealing than these things usually are. She talks a lot about her issues with mental health in a way that feels very honest. I think Bell is sometimes considered a bit of an oversharer, which she addresses thusly:

Bell comes off like a natural sharer. She is a woman who once divulged on The Talk that her kids walked in on her and Shepard having sex. Shepard’s gassiness also comes up in the course of our Zoom session. Still, I think aloud that she doesn’t have to post her low moments to Instagram, or air them with me, an ostensible stranger. She could just let fans and followers believe the sprightly, superficial version of her. “You do, though,” Bell disagrees. “You have a responsibility…to try and make the world a safer, better place for other human beings.” Sometimes, Bell admits, “I still have this desire, this knee-jerk, to present perfection.” Enter Shepard, who consistently checks her, asking: “Are you being honest? Are you telling the whole story?”

Personally, I feel like there’s some room between being upfront about stuff — I do think a celebrity talking about getting therapy or taking SSRIs is helpful to people who need to see that normalized — and being a completely open book; you owe honesty to the people in your real life, but you definitely don’t owe the public everything. (Like, she talks a lot in here about how Dax Shepard may or may not feel about how she makes more money than he does. I AM interested in this and also might have told her she doesn’t need to tell people this!) But I came out of this liking her a lot, and feeling like I know her better, which is always the aim of these things; while I might not agree with her about everything, none of us need to agree with everyone about everything, and she comes across like someone who might be your very high-energy friend. It’s worth a read!

[Photographer: Pat Martin]