As occasional Jezebel contributor Doree Shafrir points out in The Hollywood Reporter, Elle has 42-year-old Julia Roberts, Vogue has 44-year-old Halle Berry, and Harper's Bazaar has 41-year-old Jennifer Aniston. Sarah Jessica Parker has sold well into her mid-40s. (She doesn't focus on the more mass titles, but Marie Claire UK has 35-year-old Drew Barrymore, InStyle has 36-year-old Hillary Swank, and Glamour has 41-year-old Jennifer Lopez, which essentially backs up the thesis.) And Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Tina Fey are huge.
Here's what editors told her about their reasoning:
Laura Brown, Harper's Bazaar: "I love that they've grown into their style. One of the things about getting older is you do grow into your sense of self. You don't look victim-y anymore." Also: "The young actresses are fascinating in their own way, but they need to be put in the wine barrel a bit longer."
Lesley Jane Seymour, More:: "They're the ones with real style, real staying power, real beauty. As the American population continues to grow older, everyone can relate better to a woman with a little wear on her tires."
All the euphemistic metaphors for aging you can shake a stick at. (Also, we're going to give Brown the benefit of the doubt and assume she meant fashion-victimy.) Here are a few additional reasons: These actresses got famous in a time when there were less distractions, when they could "open" a movie, and when Hollywood wasn't dominated by comics remakes marketed to teenage boys that give them, at best, a sidelined role. They often have the clout to get their projects made — projects, like Eat, Pray, Love, that are being marketed to women, making the convergence of a women's magazine cover ideal for all parties. And older women who don't care about Snooki are still buying magazines.
Taylor Swift... was Glamour's biggest seller last year, with 740,000 copies on the newsstand, according to the Audit Bureau Of Circulations. Another top seller: Miley Cyrus, who also did extremely well for Elle. Leighton Meester and the Twilight actors were a boon to Harper's Bazaar. Remember Lauren Conrad? She was one of Cosmo's biggest sellers of last year. Amanda Bynes was such a success on the cover of the January 2009 Cosmo that she got a repeat in January 2010.
Those magazines may benefit from the fact that there isn't the same market fatigue for the younger starlets as there is with the Gwyneths of the world, or that they have rabid fans that will buy anything with their faces on them. On the other hand, the editors risk alienating their core base of readers, who are older and who most likely don't give a shit about these girls. And who can actually afford what they're selling.
So it's back to basics! Over 40 is the new — whatever, you know what I mean.