Fashion magazines deal in the ultimate fantasy. Although in their 40s, perennial cover favorites Sarah Jessica Parker and Julia Roberts look perpetually young, with all lines airbrushed out of their faces. In recent years, curvy Kate Winslet confessed she had been "digitally slimmed" for several magazine covers while an already super-thin Demi Moore fought back rumors that a chunk of her hip was digitally removed to make her thinner on the cover of W. Faith Hill's lines were removed for the cover of Redbook and Kelly Clarkson was once slimmed down for the cover of Self, a magazine that purports to support a healthy lifestyle.
So it was surprising to look at the lineup of glamorous fashion magazines on the stands at Images, a Montrose news shop, Tuesday and she how the cover of the October issue of Harper's Bazaar stood out amid the clutter. It shows a close up of Lady Gaga sans makeup or wig, as if she just got out of bed in the morning. It's not a particularly pretty sight, but it definitely makes a statement.
I'm on the fence about the cover. I think it's refreshing not to have a perfectly coifed and styled celebrity on the cover of a major fashion magazine. However, we buy magazines to escape from reality and Gaga looks a little too real for me.
"I don't really view it as 'natural,'" she tells Harper's Bazaar editor Laura Brown. "I think that artifice is the new reality. It's more about just being honest and sincere to the core of what you do. Whether I'm wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I'm always the same person inside."
Fashion photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin photographed the singer in Nebraska, where she was shooting her "You and I" video. The duo are also directing several videos of Gaga.
Van Lamsweerde told MTV News that the cover came about when the magazine's art director Stephen Gan approached them with the novel idea.
"(He said) 'I would love to have a shoot with Gaga where she's really bare, where it's really her,' because he knows her very well; they're great friends. He feels the same way that we do: She is so beautiful, but because of all the stuff around, you don't get the chance to see really the gorgeousness and the person inside in that part of her. For Harper's Bazaar, I think it's a big deal to have a black-and-white cover to begin with, and it's great."
It is the magazine's first black-and-white cover featuring a celebrity in 20 years. As recently as April, though, Gaga was on the cover of Harper's Bazaar in full Technicolor costume.
In the interview, Gaga is asked if she ever looks in the bathroom mirror in the morning and thinks, Here we go again? "Sometimes I do," she replies. "It all really depends on my mood for the day. But I think the perception that I 'put it on' every day is probably not true."
"Don't you think that what's on the cover of a magazine is quite artificial?" she asks. "There's this idea that it's all natural, but everything's been staged to look natural. It is also an invention. It's just that my inventions are different. I often get asked about my artifice, but isn't fashion based on the idea that we can create a fantasy?"
I'm on the fence about the cover. I think it's refreshing not to have a perfectly coifed and styled celebrity on the cover of a major fashion magazine. However, we buy magazines to escape from reality and Gaga looks a little too real for me. And, except for the Gaga story, everyone else in the magazine is photographed in sheer perfection, which kind of defeats the purpose of the Gaga spread, don't you think?
Seems like there's a happy medium somewhere between an unmasked Gaga and a digitally altered Britney Spears.
Other more traditional options for October: Actress Michelle Williams is dressed as Marilyn Monroe on the cover of Vogue, the closely cropped — and totally perfect — face of Angelina Jolie graces the cover of Vanity Fair and Elle features four covers with the "bodacious beauties" of Victoria's Secret: Doutzen Kroes, Adriana Lima, Miranda Kerr and Chanel Iman.