The best part about working in magazines, in my opinion, is making things—coming up with a concept then seeing it realized, put together in a layout (more often than not on my desk, with paper and scissors), and flung out into the world. Without an idea, a strong visual concept, you’re nowhere. And I don’t care whether you’re reading the print version of Instyle or an Instagram caption—it’s the same. It’s all basically a magazine.
My point is, there’s a real, old-fashioned pleasure in “the making of.” Especially in the case of this Beauty Issue. Our cover star, Jennifer Aniston, has been an American beauty ideal for 25 years. She has, incredibly, maintained her status as the biggest-selling magazine cover star, and, famously, she also maintains herself (girl is hot).
I’ve shot Jennifer multiple times, but what I’ve noticed of late is a palpable curiosity in stretching her boundaries. The first inspiration image I pulled for this story was a Cutex advertisement starring the iconic model Veruschka (inset), all bronzed skin and thick eyelashes and pastels. This led us down the road to other retro beauties, like Brigitte Bardot, Lauren Hutton, Charlotte Rampling, and Catherine Deneuve (how good does Jennifer look in a velvet Belle de Jour bow, btw?). And that is what you see her channeling on our five newsstand covers. But my favorite image graces one of our subscriber covers, a beautiful in-between moment of Jennifer when hairstylist Chris Mcmillan smooths her hair (above, left). I think I squealed when it flashed up on the monitor on set. You know you have magic when you…make it.
Two other American goddesses we’re thrilled to celebrate in this issue: world-champion soccer player Megan Rapinoe and her girlfriend, WNBA All-star Sue Bird. We’ve all seen the deep joy and ownership Megan and Sue display on the field and on the court, but it’s the simple assuredness of their love that is, at the risk of sounding trite, the most beautiful of all.
Having Jennifer, Megan, and Sue on our subscriber covers representing boldface beauty gives me a real thrill. This is where we are now. We’re also with fashion’s breakout star (and Valentino favorite) Adut Akech, Hollywood golden girl Margot Robbie, and comedian Phoebe Robinson (and her “Chaka wig”).
Instyle lives in the world, and beauty does too.
“And that’s the tea.” Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird at home in Seattle