Thursday, May 16, 2013

Top 10 Nude Magazine Covers

As a naked Kate Walsh graces the cover of Shape, TIME looks at some other nude magazine covers that have made a splash over the years

10. Dixie Chicks, Entertainment Weekly
When riding out a scandal, most celebrities tend to keep a low profile. Clearly, the Dixie Chicks aren't like most celebrities. In March 2003, during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the top-selling country-music group unleashed a controversy when lead singer Natalie Maines, standing alongside bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison at a concert in London, said of then President George W. Bush, "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." The backlash in the U.S. was nearly instantaneous, leading to a widespread country-radio boycott of the Chicks' music, death threats and hate mail. Despite an early, rote apology by Maines, fans and pundits remained incensed by the group's political stance, which in turn inflamed the trio. A mere two months after Maines made her incendiary statement, the group graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly wearing expressions of defiance, and not much else. The nude but strategically covered women had their skin painted with the slurs that had been lobbed their way, including "Dixie Sluts" and "Saddam's Angels." The cover did little to quell the conservative, country-based backlash against the Chicks, but the group's subsequent album, 2006's Taking the Long Way, still sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. and won five Grammy Awards.
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9. Janet Jackson, Rolling Stone
The year 1993 was when a 24-year-old Janet Jackson came of age. After signing a contract worth nearly $50 million with Virgin Records, Jackson debuted on her new label the sexually charged album janet. It was chock-full of racy lyrics, but the carnality didn't stop there. For janet's cover, photographer Patrick Demarchelier snapped shots of the pop star shirtless, her chest covered only by then boyfriend Rene Elizondo's hands. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jackson offered photos from the session to Rolling Stone for its September 1993 cover story on the pop star. "We had a choice of shooting her ourselves," said Laurie Kratochvil, Rolling Stone's director of photography. "But they offered us this, and the image is very powerful. With the album, you get the face on the front and the stomach and legs on back. We get the middle part."
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8. Lindsay Lohan, New York
Six weeks before Marilyn Monroe died from an apparent overdose, Bert Stern photographed the actress in a now infamous photo series known as "The Last Sitting." Forty-six years later, Stern repeated the classic shoot with actress Lindsay Lohan for New York magazine. Lohan was not yet a jailbird but still boasted a scandalous track record that piqued Stern's interest in "controversial women." Stern told New York he chose Lohan for the project because he thought "she had a lot more depth to her" than one might assume from "those teenage movies." As one of Monroe's biggest fans — she even purchased an apartment where Monroe once lived — Lohan said her decision to partake in the shoot was easy: "I didn't have to put much thought into it. I mean, Bert Stern? Doing a Marilyn shoot? When is that ever going to come up? It's really an honor."
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7. Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley, Vanity Fair
What could be better than two rising Hollywood ingenues posing in the buff with perpetually open-shirted fashion designer Tom Ford? Three rising Hollywood ingenues, which would have been the case if Rachel McAdams didn't bow out of Vanity Fair's cover shoot once she discovered she would be photographed au naturel. But that's not to say the cover of the magazine's annual Hollywood issue was lacking star power. By March 2006, both Scarlett Johansson, who was 21 at the time, and Keira Knightley, then 20, were quickly becoming household names. Pairing them with famous photographer Annie Leibovitz and guest art director Ford turned out to be the perfect formula for media buzz, both good and bad. Three years later, the magazine would spoof its own cover by featuring a preening Paul Rudd next to actors Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Segel wearing comically unflattering nude suits.
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6. Kim Kardashian, W
Whether she likes it or not, one of the things Kim Kardashian is famous for is being naked. First, there was the sex tape with singer Ray J, which surfaced in 2007. Then, in December of that year, Kardashian posed nude in the Christmas issue of Playboy. So when Kardashian posed on the cover of the November 2010 issue of W magazine with only strategically placed banners reading "It's all about me/ I mean you/ I mean me" covering her body, it didn't come as a great shock. But in the pages of that Arts issue of W were photos by Mark Seliger of Kardashian proudly wearing nothing save for silver body paint in some of the shots. "I'm sorry I did Playboy. I was uncomfortable," she said when the W spread was released. But she apparently listened to advice from her mother Kris Jenner, who told her, "Do it, and you'll have these beautiful pictures to look at when you're my age." Advice Kardashian clearly heeded.
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5. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Rolling Stone
On Dec. 8, 1980, noted lenswoman Annie Leibovitz photographed former Beatles singer John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono at the couple's New York City apartment for Rolling Stone. Leibovitz had initially wanted to shoot Lennon alone, but he insisted they both be in the photograph. After she asked Lennon to remove his clothes and curl up next to Ono, Leibovitz said Ono offered to remove her top, but the photographer told her to keep her clothes on. The resulting photo of a nude Lennon curled around his wife "captured our relationship exactly," Lennon allegedly said after seeing a Polaroid. Five hours later, he was shot outside of the Dakota Building on Manhattan's Upper West Side and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The photograph was the cover of Rolling Stone's tribute to Lennon, and in 2005 it was chosen by the American Society of Magazine Editors as the top cover of the previous 40 years
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4. True Blood, Rolling Stone
Sexy or sick? Rolling Stone's September 2010 issue featured the True Blood love triangle: Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer naked and, appropriately, covered in blood. Opinions of the gory photo shoot varied, with some publications running headlines like, "Fangtastic or Too Racy?" For fans of the HBO vampire-sex show, the cover was hardly startling. In fact, it was rather fitting. True Blood creator Alan Ball told Rolling Stone, "To me, vampires are sex. I don't get a vampire story about abstinence." The corresponding story was equally racy, with Moyer graphically describing how a vampire bite is like a "de-virginization."
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3. Demi Moore, Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair's covers have long been provocative, but few have caused the earthquake that Demi Moore's August 1991 appearance did. Seven months pregnant and wearing nothing but her birthday suit and diamond jewelry, the actress graced the cover, glowing and defiantly proud of her womanly figure. Shot by famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, the portrait of an expectant mother's body as something to celebrate rather than obscure was both startling and fresh. Though Moore covered herself with her hands, the shot was nevertheless considered indecent by many critics. But the cover would go on to launch a trend of pregnancy photos and of flaunting one's bump, cementing the titillating image's lasting cultural impact.
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2. Serena Williams, ESPN The Magazine
Though the five-time No. 1–ranked women's tennis player once said she's not a fan of working out, you'd never know it from looking at her. For ESPN The Magazine's Body issue in 2009, Serena Williams sat naked, glistening and proud, showcasing the bulging biceps and sculpted legs that helped her smash tennis balls at 128 m.p.h. She was 28 at the time and would be the best female tennis player in the world that year, with major wins at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Though her career was at an all-time high, the cover was timed to the release of her memoir On the Line, which discusses her struggles with her weight and depression. That may have been her past, but the nude image suggested a newfound confidence and hit home the message that beauty has no size limit.
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1. Jennifer Aniston, GQ
Twelve years after her first nearly nude magazine cover, Jennifer Aniston appeared on the January 2009 cover of GQ in nothing but a necktie. It wasn't the first time the star had graced a magazine cover in the buff — she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1996 at the height of the Friends mania — but it just might have been the best. At the time, the former television sweetheart was promoting the family-friendly tear jerker Marley & Me, which was released two days after the provocative cover hit newsstands. Critics speculated that GQ was selling Aniston as an "all-American woman" to complement the issue's patriotic theme, and audiences were happy to have her back on top. The then 39-year-old had never looked better. Take that, Brad.
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