Who Is the New Self Magazine for, Exactly?

Illustration for article titled Who Is the New Self Magazine for, Exactly?

Depending on who you ask at what time of day, the new Self magazine is either for a "more mature readership" or has gone through a major revamp to specifically focus more on fashion or is still for millennial readers. Alternatively, perhaps it sits in the middle of a venn diagram of all three of those groups, as most publications that are attempting to boost their readership while still developing a specific voice do.

The October issue of the magazine is the first entirely edited by Joyce Chang, who was hired in April after former editor Lucy Danziger was fired, Because it's the hot new thing on the market, its getting some press. After firing and hiring a bevy of new staffers (a shift that competitor Shape is currently experiencing right now as well), Chang told Capital New York that Self's ideal reader is "women who have hit a place where they're making conscious choices in their lives." Not sure how that means they're more "mature" but maybe that's because the magazine is probably still going after the previously announced, always-sought-after-in-every-industry youth vote. They'd like to have their mature women while getting their disposable income women too.

Compared to twenty-somethings, who live "frantic" lives, "our reader is someone who has gotten to a point in their lives where they feel they can take some control over what they eat, what their schedule is."

"I wanted Self to be this world in which it was bright, it was sunny, it was daytime, it was optimistic," Chang said. "When you're inside it's like the great Tribeca Loft. When you're outside, you're at the beach, you're in the country."


This "grown ass lady" approach makes a little sense; part of the reason Self got into trouble last time was because they clearly thought that being young meant being dumb.

Illustration for article titled Who Is the New Self Magazine for, Exactly?

The October 2014 issue of Self (left) and the March 2013 issue of Self (right), which was the last time the magazine tweaked their look

Elsewhere in press coverage about the new Self, Fashionista emphasized the magazine's new focus on fashion in their profile, which was clearly influenced somewhat by Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour.

At first glance, you'll notice that the title appears much more fashion-forward, with a cover shot by Patrick Demarchelier, starring supermodel Joan Smalls.

Readers can expect an entirely different look and feel of the title, which includes the introduction of more high-fashion photographers and models — especially since the new guard of top models (Hilary Rhoda, Karlie Kloss, Gisele) take their health and bodies seriously.


Smalls and Hilary Rhoda are both in the magazine; Smalls is on the cover and Rhoda is in a fashion spread. In her Letter from the Editor, Chang wrote that Smalls was at "the top" of a list of people she wanted for the cover. She also outlined the changes in the content of magazine – the biggest difference appears to be that it's all now about urSELF:

This is the first issue of Self that my team and I have put together, soup to nuts. I wanted to create a guide that would address the most important aspects in a healthy motivated woman's life – your life. To that end, we created all-new sections using "self"-referential words: SELF Starter, our opening warm-up; SELF Image, where you can shop for fashion and beauty that reflect the trends and how you want to present yourself to the world; SELF Motivate, which encompasses everything you need to know to work out and eat better; SELF Worth, which addresses the mental and emotional parts of your life–happiness, career and relationships; and last but certainly not least, SELF Indulge, where we bring you easy ideas to relax, recharge and treat yourself.


Notably, this month's SELF Indulge is all about drinking wine and eating cheese and crackers. Perhaps the magazine does have a great bold future ahead of it: Bitches love wine and cheese and so do classy ladies.

Other highlights in the issue: the producer of Girls, Jenni Konner, writes about turning to exercise at the late age of 38 via the Tracy Anderson method (coincidentally, Rhoda also favors Tracy Anderson) and the back page is devoted to American Ninja Warrior's Kacy Cantanzaro. So, just so we get it: the new Self – the magazine's second in less than two years – is for young women who aren't too young but also dig fashion and care about themSELVES. Got it, great, good.


Images via Self

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Self magazine has some of the most consistently terrible first person essays I have ever read. I will admit the Jessica Valenti piece was decent, but it was a huge departure from the generally repellant shit they publish monthly.

Recent example of their bullshit include, but are not limited to the first person story by a woman whose boyfriend wanted to be sexually dominated and she felt it violated her expectations/boundaries (which is fine, but don't write "At the end of the day, I realized I'm a feminist in the streets and a housewife in the sheets. Unfortunately, my boyfriend was also a housewife in the sheets.") and the essay by a woman who crash dieted for her wedding so that other women would be jealous:

[W]hen I became the second in my group to get engaged, I couldn't help feeling smug, especially toward the friend who insisted she would be next. Walking down that aisle, a whippet in white, would show her. It would show them all! (Cue supervillain laugh.)

Ugh. They are so bad. Thank goodness my subscription is free.