The rumours have been realized: Lena Dunham’s Vogue cover has arrived and as might have been expected, the cover shot is a closeup shot of her face.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the Girls’ creator and star has been crowned “The New Queen of Comedy” in their February issue, which naturally required putting a photo of the new queen on the magazine’s cover.
Dunham may show a goodly amount of her naked body in most outings of Girls, but on the cover of Vogue, she’s practically an old-school librarian – and even her clothed body is shown only from the neck up.
The Vogue cover was shot by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz and shows Dunham in a tight-in headshot wearing a white dress shirt emblazoned with large red polka dots. Her brunette pixie cut is swept to one side and her makeup is eighties-era New York glam replete with dark eyeliner and eyeshadow and bright red lips.
As though to demonstrate the unbearable pressure of being deemed comedy’s new monarch, the cover photo shows Dunham holding her temple with one hand while the other pulls her shirt collar away from her neck.
Rumours that Dunham would grace the cover of the venerable fashion magazine began to circulate last October, right around the same time Dunham appeared at a fashion event with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
But along with the rumours came the obvious question: Would Vogue, which normally features cover shots of rail-thin models and movie stars, put Dunham on the cover with her naturally normal womanly curves intact? Or would they zoom in on her face and dodge the issue altogether.
The speculation ramped up slightly last week when the U.S. edition of Elle ran covers of four different television stars for their Women in TV issue.
Three of the covers boasted slender comic actresses – Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation) and Dunham’s Girls co-star Allison Williams – in glamorous full-body glamour shots.
The fourth cover was of Mindy Kaling, creator and star of the Fox sitcom The Mindy Project – and the only size-six woman in the quartet – whose cover shot was a face-only affair.
So much for taking risks in magazine publishing.
There’s more of Dunham’s body on display inside the February issue of Vogue, which includes a photo of her sitting atop Girls’ co-star Adam Driver’s shoulders while crossing a busy New York street. For reasons unknown, the 27-year-old star is wearing a tan tutu with canary-yellow feather shoes.
In the accompanying article, written by Nathan Heller, Dunham is described as “a model of industry.” Heller also describes Dunham’s Brooklyn Heights apartment as “concertedly unostentatious.”
However abstract the Vogue creative approach may be, the decision to omit her body from the cover runs contrary to the constant parade of naked bodies on Girls.
At this week’s Television Critics Tour in Pasadena, Dunham bridled at the suggestion Girls was showing nudity for nudity’s sake.
“It’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive,” Dunham snapped to a reporter. “But I totally get it. If you’re not into me, that’s your problem and you’re going to have to work that out with professionals.”
That was on Sunday. Three days later, when the new issue of Vogue hit newsstands, Dunham was on Twitter to post the comment: “Dear @voguemagazine. Thank you. Love, Lena.”
Because what woman doesn’t want to be on the cover of Vogue?