The magazine cover output is a great deal for any celeb. Whether it’s the cover of a fitness mag that showcases a star’s toned physique, or a hip profile from a prestigious style outlet, that kind of exposure can be a game changer. But it doesn’t always go as planned.
While most people in this listing have taken issue with some funky Photoshopping, others actually complained about the content of their interviews. In fact, actress Jennifer Garner called out a gossip rag for allegedly fabricating a feature out of thin air. Songstress Taylor Swift even went so far as to lampoon the entire celebrity periodical industry by taking an extended media hiatus, then publishing her own satirical versions of certain tabloids. So, stop the presses! Because we’re revealing the Shocking Secret Truths that alienated these stars from their front-and-center newsstand appearances. These are the celebs who hated their magazine covers.
Selena Gomez did not like the ELLE cover as a love song
Selena Gomez did not wait long to attack her ELLE’s October 2018 issue – her first cover for the fashion mag in three years. On the day a preview of the story dropped, the pop star penned a long message to her 144 million Instagram followers, letting loose on the magazine’s writer, who she surmised was “working to grab the attention of a reader.”
“I’m a bit bummed but rarely surprised,” Gomez wrote, taking umbrage with the fact that her “church” was mentioned several times despite her claim that she “didn’t” talk about it. (ELLE cited Gomez as a member of Hillsong Church, noting that Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin are also members.) Gomez also dinged the popular publication for apparently goofing up the lyrics to some new songs she played for them, writing that she would “maybe edit my actual lyrics as you will all hear it soon.” Gomez said she wanted the feature to focus on her work with A21, an anti-human-trafficking organization, as well as her clothing line with Coach. (Both those topics did receive sizable coverage.)
As far as we can tell, ELLE never directly responded to Gomez’s beef, but it did publish more excerpts from the full cover feature after Gomez’s salty post. In those added excerpts, ELLE quoted Gomez as having said the piece was “one of my absolute favorite interviews.” We see you, ELLE.
What kind of barber do Adweek’s photo editors go to?
Kerry Washington has had bad luck with several magazine covers, including back-to-back controversies in 2015 over her Lucky and InStyle covers, which fans slammed as making the actress “unrecognizable,” according to The Wrap. In response, the actress took an egalitarian approach, opting to celebrate “the conversation” that was opened over the perceived digital manipulation of celebrity images. However, when another dubious cover debuted a year later, for AdWeek’s April 4, 2016 issue (pictured), Washington finally took a stand.
In an Instagram post dated April 5, 2016, Washington wrote that she was “taken aback by the cover,” claiming the image portrayed was “so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror.” What was AdWeek’s response? Editorial Director James Cooper tweeted: “Happy @kerrywashington was proud of her Adweek profile, sad cover misses for her. Added volume to hair for dramatic effect. No disrespect.”
Fans certainly felt disrespected. Comments on Washington’s Instagram ran the gamut. “This Joan Rivers face they photoshopped is horrible!” declared one follower. It’s kind of amazing that AdWeek only copped to digitally tweaking her hair. Oh well, at least they didn’t mention her church, right?
Nicki Minaj didn’t think her conehead was too sporty
While Kerry Washington clearly attempted to play peacemaker between her disgruntled fans and the magazines that allegedly altered her images, Nicki Minaj seemingly had no issue throwing one publication under the bus. According to Jezebel, the “Bang Bang” rapper took aim at ESPN magazine’s 2014 Music Issue, for which she posed with NBA star Kobe Bryant. When the curious cover (above) hit the (digital) stands, Minaj immediately shaded it on Instagram. “When retouching goes wrong,” she quipped. She then shared her own behind-the-scenes snap from the shoot and fired off another zinger: “I love my personal unretouched photos where my forehead doesn’t mysteriously grow in length.”
A few years later, Minaj was calling “No Frauds” again, this time on several publications she accused of cultural appropriation, according to Allure. In a series of tweets, Minaj alleged that “fashion mags” forced her to switch up her hairstyles while letting “women of a diff race to wear the exact style on the cover.” Minaj decided not to put any specific mags on blast this time around, but considering this is a music mogul who is perhaps rivaled only by Lady Gaga in terms of gonzo hair and fashion choices, it’s remarkable that editors even knew where to begin when suggesting a change.
Don’t let Coco Rocha’s sweet-sounding name fool you
According to Fashionista, it’s “rare” for models to speak out against violations of their “rules” or contracts for fear of reprisal by the notoriously tough industry, so it must have raised a lot of perfectly-plucked eyebrows when supermodel Coco Rocha dragged ELLE Brazil all over her Tumblr blog like it was an artfully distressed serape trailing behind her during Fashion Week.
Referencing her long-held “policy of no nudity or partial nudity in my photoshoots,” Rocha claimed the international fashion digest digitally removed “a body suit” she wore “under a sheer dress.” This created the illusion that Rocha was “showing much more skin than [she] actually was or [is] comfortable with.” She added, “This was specifically against my expressed verbal and written direction … I strongly believe every model has a right to set rules for how she is portrayed and for me these rules were clearly circumvented.”
Rocha elaborated on the controversy to Business Insider, saying that she “didn’t want to make it a big issue, but [she] needed people to know and everyone [she] work[s] with to know that this wasn’t OK.” Was she worried about her concerns impacting her career? It doesn’t sound like it. “Usually a model gets two to three seasons, or a year and a half, and that’s it, you’re done. For me, it will be 10 years,” Rocha said.
Hi, the catwalk just called. It wants its ‘meow’ back.
Just how skinny do the stars of Riverdale need to be?
To say that Riverdale stars Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes were outraged over their portrayals on the February 2018 cover of Cosmopolitan Philippines would actually be an understatement. Speaking with Elite Daily about the alleged Photoshopping of her waist, Reinhart said she was “in shock” over the image, and that it “showed [her] this dystopian idea that we have in this industry — that a 24-inch waist is normal.” Together with Mendes, Reinhart released a statement on International Women’s Day via Mendes’ Instagram, rebuking the way their bodies were “distorted from their natural beauty.”
Mendes, who “has been open about her struggle with an eating disorder” and body image issues, also received an unwanted digital tummy tuck, reported People. “That they would then manipulate our bodies when we are literally preaching body positivity is so personally insulting, and it’s also insulting to the readers,” she said. Both Mendes and Reinhart addressed the issue again to E! News. “As women and even men we struggle with our bodies every day … especially when you’re put in the spotlight,” Reinhart said. “I’m presenting myself to the world as I am and so for someone to photoshop that is just insulting and it’s just like don’t try to put me into a box that you think I should fit in,” she added. “That’s just not gonna happen.” Preach.
Look what the tabloids made Taylor Swift do
If you know anything about Taylor Swift, you know that she doesn’t air out her personal grievances without a creative angle. After all, her tumultuous romantic life serves as the muse for some of her most memorable tunes, and you just go ahead and try not to sing along with “Shake It Off.” It’s impossible. So when the time came for Tay-Tay to take the tabloids to task, of course she did not disappoint.
Prior to the release of 2017’s Reputation (See where this is going already?), Swift basically engaged in a media blackout, according to the New York Post. When it was time for Reputation to drop, the clever songstress released mock magazines, titled TS Swiftly and TS!!, which fans could supposedly get if they bought the album at Target, reported Glamour. As it turned out, Swift did release genuine, non-parody magazines, also titled Reputation, thus capitalizing on an opportunity for shade and landing a corporate tie-in. Oh yeah, this was signature T-Swizzle.
As if those hilariously phony zine names weren’t a big enough clue as to which gossip rags were her satirical targets, headlines like “Cattitude! Meredith Is Out Of Control!” and “Taylor Shocker! Taylor Tells All In Her Shocking Intro!” did the job of removing any further doubt. Something tells us there wasn’t a whole lot of rocking out to Reputation going on in the newsrooms of Us Weekly and OK! Magazine that week.
Andy Roddick’s gun show ended up firing blanks
Guys don’t land on the the front of Men’s Fitness until they’re anything but jacked, but when tennis star Andy Roddick took a turn on the muscle mag’s cover, he looked particularly swole. So swole, in fact, that he speculated his impressive new mass was actually borrowed from a rival. Calling the cover photo “pretty funny,” Roddick wrote on his personal blog (via People), “Little did I know I have 22-inch guns and a disappearing birthmark on my right arm.” He added, “I saw the cover for the first time when I landed in Rome. … Maybe Rafael Nadal wants his arms back?”
Reps for Men’s Fitness denied swapping out the Grand Slam winner’s pythons, although they did cop to making “an enhancement of Roddick’s arms.” ABC News reported that Roddick maintained his sense of humor about the whole thing, and even encouraged people to pick of a copy of the June/July 2007 issue. “If you can manage to stop laughing at the cover long enough, check out the article inside,” he reportedly said.
This picture of Priyanka Chopra stinks of armpit shenanigans
Quantico star Priyanka Chopra took a good-natured approach to her cover shoot controversy. The image in question was from Maxim India’s July 2016 issue, which had Chopra’s fans in a funk, because — wait for it — her armpits were missing. Yes, #ArmpitGate is real and it’s spectacular.
According to one particularly piqued criticism by Buzzfeed India writer Srishti Dixit, the men’s mag was guilty of “setting WILDLY unrealistic armpit standards” for the youth with its portrayal of Chopra’s “digitally retouched armpit from hell.” Okay, it does look weird, but a smooth underarm has to be the least frightening creature ever entered into the literary lexicon of the place of eternal damnation. Anyway, the actual person whose armpit was seemingly airbrushed from existence wasn’t nearly as worked up over it.
Heading over to Instagram, Chopra posted an unfiltered, arm-raised snapshot, along with the caption, “Here is another ‘pit-stopping’ picture to add to the debate. #WillTheRealArmpitPleaseStandUp#nofilter #armpitdiaries.” Thus ended one of the greatest internet controversies of the modern age, which Chopra easily shut down without even … breaking a sweat.
Jennifer Garner’s people didn’t spill the tea to … People
After announcing her split from husband Ben Affleck in June 2015, Jennifer Garner didn’t speak to the press about it for almost a year, and then she did so with Vanity Fair. A few years after that, she spoke with CBS Sunday Morning about the incredible “pressure” of being constantly tailed by the tabloids as her marriage unraveled, so it was pretty amazing when People published an online preview of its June 12, 2017 issue on May 31, 2017, featuring an extreme close-up of Garner’s face on the cover with the headline, “Life After Heartbreak.” The implication was clear: this was supposedly an exclusive with Garner about her divorce. Except, it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. All of the info in the piece came from dubious “sources” and “insiders.” Garner was not here for it.
“It has been brought to my attention that there is a People magazine cover and article out today that appear to be coming from me,” Garner wrote on Facebook the same day the online preview appeared. “I did not pose for this cover. I did not participate in or authorize this article,” she added, effectively calling BS in capital letters on the phony profile. Fortunately, Garner maintained a sense of humor about the whole thing, writing that she would have completely ignored it, except she was worried her “mom’s garden club” would “light up her phone.”
Lena Dunham’s cellulite is free to ‘do the damn thing’ now
Girls creator Lena Dunham found herself outraged, then apologetic, then outraged all over again at her own outrage over a Spanish magazine that she incorrectly accused of digitally altering her body. Confused yet? We’ll explain.
According to The Guardian, Dunham accused El Pais in a since-deleted Instagram post of using “mad photoshop” to fundamentally change her body for its March 2016 issue. El Pais responded in an open letter, complete with photographic evidence that it simply cropped an image that was purchased from a photographer who had clearance from Dunham’s publicist to use the photo. At that point, Dunham changed her tune.
She then complained on her blog, Lenny, that even though she believed El Pais, the whole episode distressed her because she couldn’t “recognize [her] own f***ing body anymore. And that’s a problem.” Dunham added, “The gap between what I believe and what I allow to be done to my image has to close now. If that means no more fashion-magazine covers, so be it … But I bid farewell to an era when my body was fair game.”
Dunham hasn’t exactly steered clear of those publications, but she did seem to exert some meaningful change. In January 2017, she celebrated on Instagram that her “cellulite” was able to “do the damn thing on news stands everywhere,” thanks to an apparently unretouched Girls cast photo for the cover of Glamour.
Zendaya’s baby hairs are just fine where they are, thanks
In case you ever wanted to question the power of a Disney starlet, look no further than the time Zendaya got Modeliste to not only pull its entire November 2015 issue that featured altered photos of her, but also got the publication to print an apology from the editor-in-chief, which described the Shake It Up star as “an authentic and positive representative and an inspiration to women.” Zendaya did not come to play, y’all.
After proofs from the shoot left her “shocked,” Zendaya posted a split-screen to Instagram, claiming that her “19 year old hips and torso” had been “quite manipulated.” She continued, “Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love.” Just how hard did Zendaya lay the smack down on Modeliste? We’re so glad you asked.
“I absolutely loved that when personally speaking with Zendaya on the phone in regards to the re-touching, that she specifically had noted that her fine baby hairs had been photoshopped from her forehead,” wrote Modeliste Editor-In-Chief Amy McCabe in her apology. Did you catch that? The Spider-Man: Homecoming star pulled the “Girl, don’t think I didn’t notice this, either” card. Instant queen move.