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Beyoncé looked glorious on my magazine cover. ‘Are you going to lighten her skin?’ my boss asked | Australian fashion

I I stood at the door of my publisher’s office, knocked tentatively, and held my latest cover printout awkwardly at my fingertips.The cover I had in my sweaty hands this time Beyonce, And she … well, she looked like this Beyonce.. She looked perfect.

The publisher took the cover in his hand and acknowledged it. “That’s great,” she nodded. I sighed a little relieved and turned around to leave the room. But when I got to the door, she glanced back from the computer screen and casually piped, as if she regretted, “Are you going to lighten your skin a little?”

I wasn’t sure if she was joking. I broke something I didn’t understand accordingly, ran through the hall in a crazy panic, and arrived at an art director who had been there longer than I was and confirmed that this was the case. “Black cover stars don’t sell in Australia,” I was constantly told by everyone I needed to know. And neither was said at other times, Asians, plus-sized bodies, pregnant people, freckles or redheads.

Justine Cullen arrives at the Elle Australia event in 2017. Photo: Don Arnold / WireImage

After a series of retouches and, of course, after whitening, I regained the cover for a second approval. The publisher popped it on her wall and went back to see it. “It’s nice,” she nodded. But when I tried to get out of the door, she called again, “Are you going to lighten her skin a little?”, As she thought it for the first time. I didn’t know if I was laughing or crying. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to do the same with Eva Mendes’ skin, at which point my brain exploded.

This dates back to the early days of retouching, when magazine publishers were intoxicated with relatively new powers. The cover star is not only smooth, slim and white, but also has a Frankenstein-style makeover, where different shots of the model’s head and body are mixed and matched, or the head is perfect for someone else’s body. It was patched to. Thank god The industry eventually learned the mistake of that method, but some real atrocities took place before it happened.

It’s not that we’ve lost the perception that we need to fit the cookie cutter cover. For a long time at Ell, Rebel Wilson wasn’t allowed on the cover. She was clearly the publisher’s code for “not selling,” or “not size 0.”

It should be easy to pull the cover together. With the cover star in mind, you talk to her people, book a studio or place with the crew, and take some pictures. But it’s not that easy. First, you have to think about who you want to run, but it can be difficult in itself.

It must be someone who is interesting to your readers and has a “brand” and a few moments for your masthead. They are famous and must like enough to sell off their socks. As my time as an editor progressed, these unicorns became more and more difficult to find. Just by holding Mischa Barton over the cover, I missed the days of my later years when I knew everything was okay. No one loved Missha. I don’t know what went wrong for her or us.

Hovering over you like a cheap perfume when you make these decisions is a very real fear of failure – and you will be fired. The editor’s career can be accomplished or torn on the cover she runs, so there’s not much room for mistake. It might be easier if there were more Australian celebrities with the power to sell magazines, but with the lack of Nicole, Naomis, Kates and Margot, we need to look for international stars to find plum spots.

Before diversity became a popular item in the magazine publishing industry that could no longer be ignored, magazine editors were constantly blamed for the lack of a cover. In our defense, it wasn’t that we didn’t want to try. There is a belief that the editor is the last word when it comes to covers, but in many cases, especially if the editor is unfamiliar with the role, the cover needs to be approved by the publisher or some corporate management team. .. They are as knowledgeable about women as they can hear and always choose safe options.

Justin Karen on the cover of L magazine
Karen holds a copy of Elle’s mirror cover. This has become a global headline, but it hasn’t sold well.

From the advent of celebrity covers in the 90’s to so long ago, when almost every well-selling cover featured a very famous, very clean, very slender blonde, it’s hard to claim something different. It was almost impossible.

Thankfully, social media has also helped bring back the creativity of magazine covers. Suddenly, what I liked became more important when income from copy sales became less important than advertising. Advertisers liked likes, and if advertisers liked your likes, they were more likely to give you their money. If you don’t want to play safely like me, it wasn’t too bad.

Even if the magazine loses its place at the top of the media hierarchy, the cover is still the main real estate, with desires, aims, analyzes, likes, posts, and reports. Almost everything except the ones I bought.

Even with the growing power of influencers, many still consider cover to be the ultimate award. It turns out that even people with far more followers than any magazine can claim to be able to give their Gran something concrete to show off in Bingo.

But in my experience, a really exciting cover that got a lot of likes and attention wasn’t our biggest seller so far.Absent Mirror cover, It made the reader a magazine star, or what we shot on the iPhone and made news around the world Global First..Not made with a model Gemma Ward sliced ​​5 different headshots into 1/3Like a kid’s flip book, which won the cover of the year and was endlessly copied in other markets.

People loved these covers and advertisers loved them. That is, they were considered successful in another way, but the huge amount of advertising they got was not reflected in their sales. The best-selling covers were safe, preferably the blonde cover that your Nan recognized on free-to-air television, or the cover of someone who literally shared a pedigree with Kris Jenner.

This led to a monotonous cycle of confirmation bias, which certainly prevented the magazine from evolving as needed.

However, magazine editors often hear the criticism that if you take risks, you can’t do good without doing enough.

Semi-gloss by Justin Karen

Robbie Myers, once Elle’s US counterpart, ignited every time he put a non-white person or someone who didn’t look like a supermodel on the cover. She was accused of being dressed too much or not enough. If she performed a headshot, a full-length shot, or the image was black and white. Don’t worry, it was the only American fashion magazine with Gabourey Sidibe, Melissa McCarthy and Mindy Kaling on the cover in the first place, and the shots were universally stunning. Similarly, for years, Australian magazines have featured a rotating lineup of the same cute Starlet and models on the cover, never giving a different perspective.

It was enough to look at a gourmet traveler colleague and imagine the world where the biggest cover drama I’ll come across would be a chocolate lava cake or a pork rib.

As for Rebel Wilson, I was finally able to put her on the cover. She sold well.

Beyoncé looked glorious on my magazine cover. ‘Are you going to lighten her skin?’ my boss asked | Australian fashion Source link Beyoncé looked glorious on my magazine cover. ‘Are you going to lighten her skin?’ my boss asked | Australian fashion

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