Mags: Teen Vogue – reluctant cover star

What would Juno MacGuff and her wise-quipping BFF Leah have had to say about this cover? 'Cause while Paulie Bleeker was the cheese to Juno's macaroni, Ellen Page and Teen Vogue are about as mismatched as her Philosophy Di Alberta dress and D&G top (sorry, I just don't get it).

Ellen looks about as comfortable as a pair of spandex hot pants – like she just ran into an ex-boyfriend wearing a stained tracksuit, sporting a nasty cold sore. Her awkward schoolboy, hands-in-pockets pose and “this is kinda painful” expression practically scream “Get me outta here!”. I feel sorry for her – and for Teen Vogue. It’s a forced friendship and neither is a happy camper.

I can see Page on the cover of Interview (she was back in March) or Paper, and she definitely would have been Jane and Sassy material, but Teen Vogue? Sure, she made Vanity Fair's Young Hollywood cover but to front a fashion magazine solo leaves her looking completely out of context – in the same way she self-consciously treads the red carpet. I’ve no doubt Amy Astley had her reservations about using Page, but the cult success of Juno – 2008’s answer to Reality Bites, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink – obviously got the better of her. Will teens respond to this issue in the same way they did to Juno?

Page is no Natalie Portman or Camilla Belle – TV covergirls who get almost monthly exposure in the mag. While Belle, last month’s covergirl, has a “passion for fashion” and the model looks to match, one gets the feeling Page, cute and quirky-cool as she may be, has to feign her interest in Zac Posen frocks. Belle turned up to the TV cover shoot wearing “white Hudson cords, a 3.1 Phillip Lim cashmere cardigan, black Marc Jacobs patent-leather flats and carrying a plaid Jean Paul Gaultier bag”; Page showed up in “a Free City hoodie, ripped jeans and Converse sneaks.”

“In an industry in which many women expend more energy on hair, makeup and Pilates than on acting,” says Astley in her editor’s letter (funnily enough, on the morning of Belle’s April issue cover shoot she “rose early to attend a Pilates lesson”), “Ellen is refreshing.” Like a Cool Mint? “Her bemused expression suggests she would rather be anywhere else than an awards ceremony,” writes Astley. Kinda like how she might feel about being shot by Teen Vogue.

It’s clear TV has respect for Page and her decidedly anti-fashion stance ("she was adamant; no dresses!"), and I admire the mag for taking a risk on a talented kid riding the fame train, but is that affection a bit contrived? Or have I/we become so conditioned to seeing a certain celebrity 'type' on the covers of our magazines, that anything but the stock-standard pretty muse looks unusual? Sad, huh. Page is admitted into the TV “rebel role model” ranks alongside Jodie Foster, Drew Barrymore, Winona Ryder and Natalie Portman – not bad company, really.

The mag covered teen pregnancy and birth control, using Jamie Lynn Spears as a celebrity cautionary talking point, last month (ironically in the ‘prom issue’). This month the big issues are college pressure (overextended teens vying for spots in the top universities, suffering under the weight of parental and peer pressure – in America, kids are like brands with strategies, unique selling points and KPIs); cyberbullying (referencing the MySpace-related suicide of Megan Meier); and tuna sushi, a “fashionable food” with a “good-for-you reputation and status as a Hollywood haute food”, which contains potentially harmful levels of mercury (generally, TV runs a health-scare type story every month).

On the lighter, fashiony side, there’s new style blogger Andrew Bevans’ report on Belgian model/car accident victim Hanne Gaby Odiele Termote; Natalie Portman and Lauren Bush are “fashion’s new superheroes”, representing two of the “starlets, designers and big-name brands that are saving the planet with style”; Russia’s Kira Plastinina, the 15-year-old whose father bought her a chain of 30 retail stores in which to stock her “mix of funky, sequin-lined hoodies and flirty, bright-hued dresses”; Converse’s signature shoe, the Chuck Taylor, scores two pages marking the company’s hundredth year in business and clothing collaboration with Target (a company which has totally cornered the collaborative market); designer Rogan Gregory recycles a crocheted tunic into an “eco-chic shopping tote”; denim mini skirts see the light of day… again, as modeled by Aggy Deyn; the spreads channel Proenza Schouler (‘Marching Orders’), bold, bright beachy separates with a little sequin thrown in for good measure (‘Sunny Delight’), and a chic episode of Lost (‘Sole Survivors’).

The celebrity roll call includes Rihanna, Natasha Khan, Pixie Geldof, Miley Cyrus, Camilla Belle (surprise!), Rupert Friend, Anne Hathaway, Agyness Deyn, Lily Allen, socialite Olivia Palermo, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Bosworth (in a bikini).

‘Real girls’ are represented by Emily Fontana, 13, the daughter of designer Pina Ferlisi; Adriel Saporta, daughter of the New York City Ballet’s Lourdes Lopez (she looks like a girl you’d want to be friends with); and those lucky enough to appear on the V-Mail and pages.
Beauty and Health leads in with painfully easy-breezy-chic Parisian Clemence Poesy, 25, current face of Chloe perfume and believer in pharmacy-bought skincare; there’s a story on Paul Mitchell director of strategic planning Michaeline DeJoria, 24, who champions charitable causes; Beauty Blogger Eva Chen is told by Bumble and Bumble stylist Damian Santiago that people who exercise frequently and eat lots of lean protein have healthy hair that “grows like Chia Pets’ (gold!); and golden makeup is covered over four pages (“it’s all about touches of gold”).

Entertainment-wise, Leigh Belz profiles Philly native Santogold (2008’s answer to M.I.A); celebrity sons get a run (Colin Hanks, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Jack Quaid…); actor Jonathan Tucker, who filmed The Ruins in Oz, is who ‘People Are Talking About’; Cry-Baby hits Broadway; Tokio Hotel, Ashlee Simpson, the Kooks, Panic at the Disco and Justin Nozuka get the album review treatment; Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the movie to watch; and, of course, Ellen Page gets a four-page spread (Camilla Belle scored 10 last month).

Overall excitement factor: 6/7
Feel-good factor: 5/6
Eye-candy rating: 4/5 – as usual, creative teen styling

The Stats
Issue: May 2008
Book size: 188 pages
Inside front cover: Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess
Back cover: M.A.C Viva Glam
FOB ads: DKNY, Redken, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Gucci by Gucci, Roxy, Guess, Vans, Clinique, DKNY Delicious, Dooney & Bourke, Dillard’s
Editor-in-Chief: Amy Astley

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


Anonymous said...

I can't say I was impressed with TV this month. Normally I love the mag, but I flipped through this one in 20 minutes!

frangipani princess said...

You are so right! Ellen Page does look awkward, out of place and like there is a million places she'd rather be. The colour scheme works well though. The issue looks good, I can't wait to get my issue!

gg xx

Anonymous said...

i didnt enjoy this issue either, i i agree ellen and TV do not match at all!

Anonymous said...

I like Teen Vogue but don't like how some cover stars are given 10-page spreads as Erica said, while others like Ellen are given two. (Ellen's feels more like two as I think there are only two photos.) Blake Lively only had four pages too. And I thought she was considered a new fashion icon!

Ondo Lady said...

That cover is about as appealing as cold porridge. Definately not what you expect from Teen Vogue, I guess Amy Astley must have been having a bad day when she selected that cover. I think that Ellen Page does justify a cover on the magazine but they should have and could have done a much better job styling her. This is all wrong.