Maxim has been trying to revamp its image, and with Idris Elba gracing the cover of its September issue, it’s clear that the erstwhile “lad mag” is on the right track.
Big changes have been happening in Maxim this past year. With a new editor-in-chief at the helm, the magazine known for its sultry covers of women in various stages of undress appears to be going for a more legit reputation.
Some notable changes that Maxim’s new editor Kate Lanphear made was completely reinventing its highly anticipated annual “Hot List” by putting Taylor Swift at the top of the heap. Now Lanphear is doing something totally unheard of in Maxim’s history – putting a man on its cover.
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The editor admits that “we’ve never in US Maxim history had a man on the cover solo.” Previous issues had male stars on the flip covers. Or if men were featured on the cover, it would be alongside a woman.
“This is the very first time, and there was no one else in the world more badass than Idris,” Lanphear explains of her choice.
“For me, he was really the perfect embodiment of what I think the new Maxim man is,” the renowned style editor said.
She then enumerated the qualities that made Idris Elba the new Maxim man – multi-dimensional, complex, sophisticated and down to earth were some of the adjectives mentioned. Of course, he’s also an award-winning actor, a DJ and the person who broke Britain’s land speed record.
But it’s quite telling that despite Lanphear’s decision to make Maxim more female-friendly, Elba’s cover was more subdued and somber.
Idris Elba becomes first man to appear alone on the Cover of Maxim Magazine! pic.twitter.com/hjThdopkyl
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While the magazine has tried to do away with the overt sexuality of its previous covers, there’s still that hint of sauciness. Candice Swanepoel’s cover, for instance, only focused on her face but there was still that sultry feel.
Idris Elba’s cover, on the other hand, was just straight up guy fashion pose. While there was nothing wrong with it, a little bit of feistiness would have made it more interesting.
Still, it’s undeniable that Lanphear’s September issue, which is focused more on fashion, made an excellent choice in Elba.
The advertisers are agreeing too. Maxim’s September issue boasts a stunning increase in ads compared to last year, with fashion power houses like Prada, Versace, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein all in its pages.
Lanphear believes readers would also like where the magazine is going this month and says they are also growing “along with the magazine.”
[Images by Anthony Harvey/ Jim Dyson, Getty Images]