Oprah Isn’t The Only One: 10 Magazine Covers That Wowed Us

August 14, 2013  |  
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Oprah’s September issue cover isn’t the only one that made us let out an obligatory, “yessssssss.” Print publications are struggling right now, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped us from doing a double take. Here are ten covers, both of recent and distant memory, featuring celebs who served fabulousness for a glossy’s 30-day newsstand appearance.

Tyra Banks, Sports Illustrated

There are swimsuit models and then, there is Tyra Banks. This iconic cover was shot in February of 1997, making Banks the first African American model to appear on Sports Illustrated solo. She was on a GQ cover around the same time, but this Sports Illustrated shot is irreplaceable.

Solange, Complex

Solange has a style and confidence that surpass many mainstream artists nowadays and this June 2013 Complex cover personifies that. It’s pretty simple, in terms of the visuals in the shot, but it’s also stunning. The blue background against her brown skin and fire engine lips make this cover truly fabulous and worth hanging up on your magazine-clad bedroom wall.

Rihanna, Rolling Stone

You know we couldn’t make this list without including Rihanna. The girl has done a lot of covers, but this one is a little fun and naughty. A Rolling Stone cover usually includes a certain amount of edge and Rih delivers in a stop-traffic-Loud-era red wig and barely-there-maybe-they-were-photoshopped booty shorts. It might not be her most fashionable one to date, but this April 2011 cover is fabulous.

Michelle Obama, Vogue

It didn’t take very long for Michelle Obama to land a cover on Vogue. Merely four months after her husband’s first presidential win, our First Lady was all smiles in this fantastic photo for the March 2009 issue. This cover reflected Obama’s warm spirit and really showed why she truly was the First Lady we had been waiting for.

The Obama Family, Essence 

This September Essence cover is one for the books. This one of several Obama family photo-ops that made its way to many national publications in 2008. But, the fact that this African American family posed for one of the leading African American publications in circulation was historic.

Darine Stern, Playboy 

It’s interesting that it took Playboy Magazine 20 years after their first issue to put an African American model on the cover, but when they did, it was divine. Darine Stern graced the October 1971 issue and showed the world just how serious a great Afro is. We love how minimal this cover is because it puts Stern right where she belongs: front and center.

Janelle Monae, Essence 

We can’t count how many times we’ve seen the same celebrity on every national publication. So, it was a breath of fresh air to see Janelle on the May  2013 cover of Essence. She hasn’t been on many fashion/lifestyle magazine covers, but her cover look only extends Janelle’s visual presentation and makes us love her even more. Here’s to hoping we won’t ever stop seeing her.

Beyoncé, The Gentlewoman 

We look to Beyonce for a lot of things. Talent. Drive. Divaness. But, her natural beauty sometimes gets lost in translation beneath the fan, eyeliner and weave. This woman is naturally beautiful and this Summer 2013 issue of The Gentlewoman truly captures her smooth skin, from her head to her fingertips.

TLC, Vibe

This one is a throwback, but we miss TLC and their chart dominance. The fiery music group was on the cover of Vibe’s November 1994 issue and looked just as ’90s as you could ever be. It’s said that the cover’s creative direction was a nod to Left Eye’s controversial arrest for burning down ex-boyfriend Andre Rison’s home in June of that year.

Boris, Lance & Blair, Essence 

Boris, Lance and Blair on one cover?! Whoever made this decision at Essence was obviously at work that day. This October 2010 Essence cover captures a lot of women’s fantasies and makes us wish we were at that shoot that day.

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