THE RAW IS­SUE

Maxim - - CONTENTS - Edi­tor in Chief kate lan­phear

WHO CAN FOR­GET THEIR FIRST GLIMPSE OF A NAKED WOMAN?

When I was nine, I dis­cov­ered a stash of my fa­ther’s mag­a­zines on a base­ment shelf. I was awestruck. Those cen­ter­folds were my in­tro­duc­tion to ide­al­ized beauty. The ap­peal wasn’t about their ge­net­i­cally re­mark­able volup­tuous­ness, though. It was the ex­pres­sions they wore— what I’ve now come to rec­og­nize as raw de­sire—that floored me, spark­ing an ob­ses­sion with mag­a­zines that con­tin­ues to this day.

That epiphany in the base­ment was very much on my mind the morn­ing I walked into Maxim’s of­fice in mid­town Man­hat­tan to take on a daunt­ing chal­lenge: reimag­in­ing the U.S.’S most widely read men’s mag­a­zine for an era when glossy pages are in­creas­ingly be­ing up­staged by smartphones, and sil­i­cone-filled pin­ups have ceded the lime­light to a more au­then­tic, self-pos­sessed—if no less gor­geous—gen­er­a­tion of women.

We started by strip­ping it down, pulling apart the struc­ture. To rebuild some­thing prop­erly, you need to ex­am­ine the foun­da­tion. We asked tough, ex­is­ten­tial ques­tions. What is Maxim? What keeps men’s mag­a­zines rel­e­vant? What re­ally mat­ters?

And that old standby: Am I way higher than every­body else, or am I just be­ing para­noid?

An idea emerged from all that: What if we used the is­sue to ex­plore a con­cept? And af­ter toss­ing around a cou­ple mil­lion of them, we set­tled on a no­tion that the women in those cen­ter­folds would cer­tainly rec­og­nize— Raw. That’s it. Just the word. It suits us. Es­pe­cially now, in this mo­ment of rein­ven­tion. If raw is about the essence of things, about strip­ping away the frills and the bull­shit and get­ting down to what’s real, An­dre Dubus III, one of Amer­ica’s best nov­el­ists, cap­tures the idea as well as any­one in a sear­ing, highly per­sonal es­say (page 28) that I’m thrilled to have in our pages. The guy goes deep. Thayer Walker also went deep to re­port his piece on spearfish­ing (“deep cuts,” page 30), plung­ing into the shark-filled wa­ters of the Mar­shall Is­lands to ex­pe­ri­ence the vis­ceral thrill of hunt­ing a danger­ous an­i­mal on its own terms. In “ab­so­lute power” (page 54), we test-drove the most hard-core gear money can buy, just for fun (a six-foot chain saw!?); and with an as­sist from Mike Tyson, we went nose-to-nose with a fe­ro­cious new gen­er­a­tion of box­ers from the for­mer Soviet Union who are win­ning ti­tles in nearly ev­ery weight class (“beasts from the east,” page 90). We en­listed the na­tion’s top meat ex­perts for “the maxim guide to butch­ery” (page 112), and writer Mau­reen O’con­nor helped us take a long, hard look at the fe­male pos­te­rior and its emer­gence as Amer­ica’s fa­vorite body part (page 38).

Mean­while, though we don’t want Maxim rel­e­gated to a guy’s base­ment shelf, we don’t shy away from sexy, ei­ther, as our fea­tures on Candice Swanepoel (page 74) and actress Bianca San­tos (page 98) am­ply demon­strate.

Beauty is in the eye of the be­holder, but it’s also in the eye of the be­held. If you’re not sure what I mean, spend a minute look­ing at our cover im­age of the ir­re­sistible Ms. Swanepoel, shot by leg­endary pho­tog­ra­pher Gilles Ben­si­mon. Sweet, play­ful, and con­fi­dent in her own skin— and stripped of ex­cess makeup or re­touch­ing—she is a per­fect choice to kick off a whole new chap­ter for Maxim.

Check it out.

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