With rare exception, I really like Marie Claire‘s covers. Like, remember when they managed to pull this off, vis a vis Jessica Simpson? She hasn’t looked that good since. Nor had she looked that good prior. I’d say, in general, that they’re particularly great at taking someone who tends to look overdone and…undoing them. (Perhaps last month’s Wiig cover just ended up TOO undone because Wiig isn’t that Done to begin with?) I am relieved to see them back on track here. Miley looks so….fashion-y. And not cheesy. And almost model-esque? That is no mean feat considering that she walks around town wearing hot pants and thigh-high boots half the time, you know? It’s like MAGIC. And I can’t help but wonder, can’t whomever it is who is pulling off said dark magic on the almost regular lurk outside Lindsay Lohan’s hotel door for the next six weeks or so, on the off chance that, when Lindsay finally emerges to make a Taco Bell run, she can be kidnapped and spirited away to the MC labs for some under-doing? Don’t worry, Marie Claire, you don’t have to photograph her or anything. You don’t even have to TELL anyone. You can just release her into the wild again, better. Consider it a gift to Southern California.
Fug File: Marie Claire
Lately, Marie Claire has done some really good covers — like the revelatory au naturel Kim Kardashian shot (which Allure basically tried to rip off a couple months later, except for how theirs turned out really sweaty and less flattering and, well, worse), and the in-your-face Jolie shot, and even last month’s Blake Lively effort. So I was bummed out by the Kristen Wiig edition:
Kristen Wiig is a very pretty lady, and seems like she’s probably fun. Not that you would know it from this. If you had never heard of her before — say, you just woke up from a very long coma, in which your dead uncle told you all sorts of truths about your soul but absolutely nothing about pop culture — you would wonder if “HER LOL INTERVIEW” was actually supposed to read “LOW,” and that she’d spent the whole time in very low spirits and with low energy, speaking at low volume, sitting in low light, briefly lowing like a cow, and then, I don’t know, low-balling somebody on a pair of shoes on eBay. That thing is stiffer than a face on Real Housewives: Pick Any City. Her smile seems forced and insincere, as if the wind machine made it hard for her to breathe, and the pose seems arranged chiefly to maximize boob exposure — something I don’t traditionally associate with Marie Claire. In fact, to close the circle, LOL does not feel like a very Marie Claire term either. And can you really get naturally perfect skin? Isn’t the whole idea of having to do something to your skin to make it perfect the OPPOSITE of it being natural? I’m confused. I don’t think of Marie Claire as my friend who texts in teen shorthand and wears underboob blazers. Maybe we need to go out for a ladies’ night and hug it out over some cocktails.
First of all, my favorite thing about this cover is how TINY the mention of Project Runway‘s winning collection is.
I wonder if they were contractually obligated to do it, but then punted as best they could at the last second because it was so underwhelming a season. That thing is written in, like, eight point font, tucked above the masthead in a spot where you almost never look because the only information that’s usually there is the date and price of the issue, or maybe the URL.
But also, you never would look there, because you are too busy being arrested by Angelina Jolie’s face. That is a compliment. She is arresting. This is the second cover in as many months on which Marie Claire has made someone look better than they recently have on the red carpet (the first being Kim Kardashian), all by keeping it deceptively simple. The quizzical face and heat in her eyes might be a little edgier and foxier than Marie Claire traditionally goes for, but that’s kind of why I love it. She is RIGHT there, coming at you, without any bells and whistles except the ones her genepool (and maybe a nose sculptor) gave her. And it works. This is the fire that tends to be missing from her on the red carpet — this is the Angelina I wish we got more of, the one who is feisty and stunning and sassy and makes it impossible to look away. I’m almost bashful under her stare. I want to apologize for my face, or my shoes, or my hair, or the weather. Sure, there is something a little ooky about how disembodied all the parts look — that arm could as easily be a mannequin hand someone jammed into the shot, and her hair is covering up enough of her neck that she almost looks to be missing a chunk of it — but overall the effect is really hypnotic. Magnetic. Arresting. There’s the word again. But it is. I feel cuffed to it, thrown against a car, and read my rights in a rushed and perfunctory way — a grudging courtesy, as everyone knows nobody ever fully pays attention to that spiel because the fact of what’s happening is too distracting. I want her simultaneously to slap me and be my best friend. It’s strange. Which I guess means it works. Or that I just fell in dysfunctional love with her. Or both.
Listen, I’m no Kim Kardashian apologist. It’s really, really hard to sympathize with “what went on in her crazy marriage” when I suspect the simplest answer is, “She married a dude she barely bothered to get to know, because having a wedding was more important to her than having a husband.” But I give credit where credit is due, and so I commend Kim for posing for this cover:
It’s pretty well-documented that Kim Kardashian almost never does anything without twenty pounds of shiny makeup on her face — I believe I even read once that she said she either sleeps in it, or puts it on as soon as she gets up, because she refuses to be seen without it. She trades on being slick and painted and exhaustively (or exhaustingly) done. And yet, look at her here — nothing glossy, nothing shiny, no eyelashes that are turned up to eleven. The hair is beachy and unkempt in a way that Regular Kim would never allow. There is a softness. She looks, gasp, natural — like a human being rather than some sort of SephoraBot. I didn’t know it was possible. For my money, if she wants Makeup To Dazzle, she should just do this again sometime. It’s okay to be a person and not just a commodity, Kim. I promise.
Once again, I find myself praying Dakota Fanning doesn’t go out and Lohan herself, because look look how lovely she is:
Something about this cover screams Diane Kruger to me, in a good way — the neck bow is sort of cutesy Colonel Sanders, in a way D.Krug herself has channeled, yet oddly more appropriate since it’s on a girl who’s in her teens. And then the hair, the eyes, how easily sophisticated she seems… I don’t know, maybe I’m projecting my own fascination with how smart and sensible Dakota appears to be when compared to a lot of other kids who’ve grown up in the business, but I think she looks great. And if she’s Diane Kruger Junior, then the important question here is: Who is her Pacey?
I think, by now, you all know how I feel about Jessica Simpson and her apparent physical inability to close her mouth. So this cover, in which we see no space at all between her teeth and her lower lip is A VICTORY! How long did it take Marie Claire to finagle this? I suspect days. Regardless: a round of applause! As you can see from the cover, they claim she’s wearing no makeup and they’ve done no retouching and I know people find this hard to believe, but I don’t doubt it, particularly — I don’t think she really NEEDS much retouching to begin with, honestly. Sure, she’s got mildly dead eyes — Tyra would be APPALLED — but I attribute that to how hard she probably had to work to keep her mouth shut-ish. The girl’s tired. Essentially: HOT DAMN how much better does J Simp look without makeup than after having submitted herself to whoever is usually responsible for painting her? Apparently, she should NEVER wear makeup. EVER. She looks about 20 years younger here than she usually does — so, her actual age — and about 100 times prettier. I feel so proud, and so should whoever talked her into this.
PS: Isn’t it very easy to know if your bad-guy is tweeting about you? Just read his Twitter. DUH.