Ashlee gets a nose job; Marie Claire gets a makeover

Marie Claire readers slam Simpson for getting plastic surgery after saying we should love our bodies as they are.

Published August 1, 2006 10:03PM (EDT)

Marie Claire gets the "smartest readership of the month" award as its readers clamored to decry July cover girl Ashlee Simpson's recent body alterations. Yesterday's New York Times wrote that, after "extolling the virtues of appreciating one's body as it is," Simpson then proceeded to get a nose job. According to the Times, 1,000 readers wrote letters to the magazine in protest, furious at Simpson's "hypocrisy" and Marie Claire's "cluelessness."

New editor Joanna Coles, who was not editorially involved with the July issue, says that she agrees entirely with readers and even provides extra space in the letters column of the September issue (her first) for them to voice complaints against Simpson. Coles also addressed the matter in a letter inside the magazine writing that "We're dazed and confused -- and disappointed -- by her choice, too!"

As the Times points out, "rare is the day when the editor of a women's magazine will openly criticize a celebrity."

Coles hopes to bring Marie Claire back to its place as a "smart girls' book," from which she believes it fell "partly due to the assault on the newsstand from celebrity weeklies." The Times writes that Coles wants to "revitalize Marie Claire by giving it attitude and orienting it toward confident, professional women." This sounds good to us, although, as Robert S. Boynton, director of the magazine program at New York University, told the Times, "It's not easy to get at that market. In the women's category, we haven't seen any new magazines that are ambitious that way in a long time." Apparently, women don't just read Marie Claire for the articles.

It will be interesting to see how Coles puts her plans into action. The upcoming September issue features Maggie Gyllenhaal on the cover holding an apple before her mouth and looking, well, outrageously gorgeous and sexy as all get-out (see article for pics). Not quite sure how this Maggie-as-Eve spread is so different from previous sex-infused covers, but we'll definitely give the new M.C. a chance.

By Sarah Goldstein

Sarah Goldstein is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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