These days, it's not enough for a magazine to just be a mere publication. A magazine has to be online. A magazine has to be on TV. Yesterday, AdAge reported that after Elle participated in Project Runway, the mag saw newsstand sales and ad pages soar — going from number 6 to number 2 in its category, second only to Vogue. (Now Vogue has an online docu-series "Model.Live.") Elle has parted ways with Project Runway, but will launch Stylista on The CW in October. And Marie Claire will partner with the Style Network to produce Running In Heels, a weekly series about the lives of Marie Claire editors. But none of the TV shows about magazines will show you what you really want to see:The juicy stuff. The scandalous stuff. Who showed up late and bitchy for her cover shoot? Who had to have Evian for her lap dog? Which editor is generally hated for her negative attitude? Who is ultimately responsible for the epic amount of Photoshopping that goes on to create a cover "image"? What do the photographs of the women on the covers of these magazines look like before they are tampered with? (Well, we have an answer for that.) The chances that we'll see any of this stuff is as slim as the waists they whittle on the covers of Elle and Marie Claire. Having worked in magazines for 10 years, I was privy to all kinds of tantalizing secrets: A friend at a rival teen mag witnessed breast augmentation scars while a certain pop star was changing at a photo shoot. A member of a boy band confessed he threw away his underwear after wearing it once. I walked into an interview with a popular recording artist, who had a major radio hit, to find the conference room at the record label completely filled with marijuana smoke. And I was small time! Imagine the stories the folks at Marie Claire could tell. Instead, Running In Heels will be an attempt to "uncover what it means to be a working woman in the cut-throat, exhilarating world of a top fashion and beauty magazine," which means we'll probably see, well, women running in heels. Which we saw when The Devil Wears Prada came out, two years ago. Mags Go From Spreads to Screens [AdAge] Marie Claire, Style Net to Create Reality Series [Folio] Earlier: Here's Our Winner: Redbook Shatters Our Faith In, Well, Not Publishing, But Maybe God
Part of the reason that I don't read women's magazines (except "Bust") anymore is how they started to seem more and more like masterbatory self promotion on the part of the editors/staff. If I had a nickel for every piece I read that showcased individual staff members' tastes or weight loss or heartbreak or what the fuck ever, I'd have like 50 nickels.
Which I would then trade in for quarters, and do a shitload of laundry, angrily.