Image courtesy of FlashGlamTrash
In an interview with The Guardian, British Vogue's Alexandra Shulman reveals the secrets behind choosing a cover girl, although she admits that there is no set science behind the agonising decision. "It's difficult to say what will sell" Shulman explains, "Kate Moss sells well for us but then we tend to play to our strengths and put her on the September cover - it's better to use your ammunition on a big issue rather than battling against a difficult seasonal sensation".
Despite describing Moss as a safety cover girl, Shulman remembers the 2003 Vogue cover with the waif-like rock chick styled as David Bowie's iconic Aladdin Sane sleeve as a "complete catastrophe". Other things to avoid include dirty colours such as mustard or aubergine, and high fashion pieces - "a real thumbs down". "The evidence suggests that black cover girls don't sell as well as white cover girls," she admits with regret, although Glamour's Jo Elvin disagrees with such narrow conventions.
"If we have a dark-haired girl on the cover, I don't think 'Oh, we need a blonde'. Our cover sales are driven by a cover star who has something to say," Elvin proclaims. Unsurprisingly, this includes popular cover star Cheryl Cole, whom the Glamour editor-in-chief describes as "the new Diana in terms of sales" - quite a title. Alexa Chung finds herself alongside Cheryl and Kate as a cover girl favourite, part of the "hometown girls" as Shulman puts it, the ladies most likely to make us part with our £4.
Weekly magazine Grazia, meanwhile have quite a specific idea of what they look for in not only a cover girl, but a cover shot. Editor Jane Bruton says that the chosen star changes from week to week, from Kate Moss to Lady Gaga, however "the celebrity must be because it suits the pacy feel of the magazine, ideally wearing something bright, showing a bit of emotion and a lot of handbag", The Guardian writes. "If there is a Hollywood blue sky in the background, I cheer inside" says Bruton.