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Detail of new Flare magazine cover featuring Paulina Gretzky
Detail of new Flare magazine cover featuring Paulina Gretzky

Should Paulina Gretzky be on the cover of Flare, or is that ‘de trop’? Add to ...

Rogers Media wants you to suspend your sense of reality and accept that Paulina Gretzky is a very controversial celebrity worthy of not only the cover of its flagship fashion magazine but also a prime-time special on its television network.

It’s sort of like believing in dragons and dwarves so you can enjoy The Hobbit, but with more cleavage.

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It doesn’t matter that the rest of the world has never been all that interested in the antics of the 24-year-old woman whose principal claim to fame is that her father was a really good hockey player. That’s not entirely fair – she’s probably just as well known for her provocative Instagram photos.

Ok, that’s probably the main reason.

“You may know of her because your boyfriend follows her,” writer Olivia Stren patiently explains to Flare’s readers, who are presumably trying to understand why they should care about the daughter of a hockey player who retired more than a decade ago.

Editor Miranda Purves also felt the need to explain her choice of cover subject to readers, taking to the magazine’s website Monday to remind everyone that “one person’s de trop is another person’s just right.”

“Since when did it become a fashion magazine’s job to drape the world around us in feel-good messages and exclude any complex topic (or person) that doesn’t conform to typical ideas of model behaviour?” she asks.

“God, how patronizing to female readers! How claustrophobic. Fashion evolves from inappropriate behaviour, from risks, mistakes and craziness, as much as from restraint. No, our concern is what’s happening, which is the fundamental definition of fashion. And in particular, what’s happening in terms of the images that surround us, which Gretzky’s certainly have been, at least for those of you who might have peeked at your partner’s Twitter feed. It’s up to you to decide what you want to rip from that as you experiment with your own style.”

Got it? Me neither.

But what is clear is that the Rogers Media machine is cranked up to 11 in its bid to convince Canadians that it scored what it believes is a big-deal interview with a woman whose only other plans seem to be to focus on her music.

And her music is a “huge, huge thing right now,” so she’s probably totally busy. (After all, she did have a song, the instantly forgettable pop ballad Collecting Dust, featured on the reality-TV series Laguna Beach in 2006, and briefly had a deal with Universal Canada, so it could still totally maybe be a thing.) The magazine dedicates eight pages to Gretzky in its most recent edition under the headline “Just a girl in the world," featuring photos by Caitlin Cronenberg. (Cronenberg, who is described as “the daughter of another famous dad” in press materials, wisely decided to put some clothes on the young Gretzky, presumably to lend some novelty to the shots.)

The television special – which provides deep insights into things such as whether her dad likes her posting semi-naked photos of herself on the Internet (he’s cool!) and who she wants to date (no hockey players!) – airs Tuesday night, and Rogers promises it has all kinds of “frank and provocative quotes that did not make print.”

It’s almost enough to make one speculate that she’ll soon be hosting a New Year’s Eve special for Rogers, or at least star in one of its Canadian reality shows (Hello, Bachelorette Canada!).

But even so, it’ll take a lot to beat the print insights that make her such a fashion maverick, which include:

• "The 24-year-old now lives alone,” but is apparently still worried about being sent to her room. “For them to say my dad is embarrassed by me, or that my parents have grounded me, is absurd.”

• She was so much more impulsive at 16. At 24, "I'm so much more patient."

• She has learned from life and should have listened to mom: "Another lesson she learned the hard way – like when she cut her hair short."

• "Men have forgotten how to be gentlemen, to make a gesture. You need to be a man and ask me out on a date properly."

The article doesn’t quote anyone besides Gretzky, except the editor and publisher of Rogers-owned Sportsnet magazine Steve Maich. He gamely puts forward his thesis that she’s worth reading about because she’s hot and related to her dad (“What’s not to like?” he asks.) It’s hard to argue with that. But I’m hardly Flare’s target market – I’m just another guy with a Twitter account and occasionally sexy Instagram feed.

Others, notably women, seem less easy to impress.

“Terrible choice for a cover … please in the future have women of substance on your cover who would be good role models for young girls and women,” reads the top comment on the editor’s online note.

I guess you can put her in the “de trop” camp. Whatever that means.

 

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