The Size Issue: Melissa McCarthy’s Elle Cover

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by Mattie Kahn
October 24, 2013
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You’ve read about all the backlash and outrage, now it’s time to talk about it.

Oh, sure. We’re pretty fond of each other, but the truth is you all are our favorite contributors to The Man Repeller. Really! We’ve formalized that fact with “Let’s Talk About It.” This weekly column is a forum for conversation, communication, and complete distraction from the jobs you’re supposed to be doing right now. So get involved. We promise we won’t tell your bosses.

Last week, you all indulged my hypothetical musings as we discussed the finer points of Kate Winslet, filters, and Photoshop. This week, the conversation continues. Sort of.

Earlier this month, Elle revealed the much-anticipated covers of its annual “Women in Hollywood” issue. Championing the industry’s seasoned celebrities and rising stars alike, the November release recognizes Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon, relative newcomer (and inevitable It-girl) Naomie Harris, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, and Melissa McCarthy for their formidable achievements. Befitting the magnitude of their talent, each superlative stunner received her very own cover. Of course, none have been quite so scrutinized as McCarthy’s.

Because while Reese graces her edition of the glossy in a very little black dress and Shailene is (barely) outfitted in Calvin Klein, Melissa fronts the magazine in what critics are calling a deliberately oversize, woolen coat. So much has been made of the controversy that Andy Samberg cheekily christened it “Jacket-gate” at the issue’s own launch party. Slate’s June Thomas summarized the indignation, saying: “This year, Elle’s token plus-size cover girl is McCarthy, who was photographed in a Marina Rinaldi coat so huge that she could hide her Mike and Molly co-star Billy Gardel underneath . . . Perhaps photographer Thomas Whiteside only knows how to photograph the usual stick insect models, because he clearly has no clue how to highlight McCarthy’s curves.” Ouch.

The outrage is understandable, especially when considering fashion’s rocky past with size. There’s also no denying the contrast between McCarthy and her dressed-down costars. Still, this much is equally obvious:

She looks beautiful.

Her skin is glowing. Her hair achieves a brand of French-girl nonchalance to which we mortals can only aspire. Frankly, she looks like she just got laid. (Do you, Mel!) The full-length shot may not sufficiently celebrate her curves, but the image by no means denies them. McCarthy is glorious.

You don’t need to take my word for it. Take hers.

On Tuesday, McCarthy told E!:

I grabbed the coat. I covered up. I had a great black dress on, but I thought, ‘It comes out in November.’ I was so sick of summer. I live in Southern California. I was as like, ‘Give me a big coat to wear. Give the girl some cashmere!’ I picked the coat. They were like, ‘The dress is really great,’ but I was like, ‘Yeah, but look at this.’

So, let’s look. If McCarthy not only approved, but also demanded the coat in question, is it fair that we pressure her to show more skin? Isn’t that sort of what Maxim is for? As far as I’m concerned, there’s something subversive and bold and impressive about putting any woman — be it Blake Lively atop September’s similarly styled Lucky or McCarthy for Elle — in an outfit that isn’t sheer and short.

Of course, we all know that this issue isn’t just about McCarthy or Elle or even “Women in Hollywood.” It’s about whether fashion can figure out how to celebrate curvier women in a way that neither disguises nor makes a point of their size. In 2011, the actress told The Hollywood Reporter, “Trying to find stuff that’s still fashion-forward in my size is damn near impossible. It’s either for like a 98-year-old-woman or a 14-year-old-hooker, and there is nothing in the middle.”

Could this cover be exactly that? Maybe.

Let’s talk about it.

REPLIES
  • Amatoria Clothing

    I have no problem with the cover. I think she looks great. Her cover is more appropriate for November than any of the others. No one in their right mind will be walking around half naked in November (unless you live in Florida I guess). With so much amazing outerwear, I think it’s more shocking that there aren’t more coats featured on covers.

    • Mattie Kahn

      Yes. Exactly! I feel like her cover should have been applauded as an example of what a November issue SHOULD look like!

    • http://longleggedlady.com/ Jessi de Bergerac

      Agree. And that coat is gorgeous.

      Also, she said she wanted to wear the coat. It would be a whole other story if she’d said she felt pressured to wear a big coat, or wasn’t given the option to pose in something more revealing. I’m not going to get bent out of shape about it if Melissa McCarthy isn’t.

      • Amatoria Clothing

        I can’t even handle the coat! I can just imagine the cashmere… I want to rub my face on it!

  • Shreya Kalra

    I cannot for the life of me fathom the criticism against this cover. Melissa McCarthy is killing it and I have just one pivotal question to ask. How is it that a stick thin model in an over sized cashmere coat on the cover will be lauded while a plus sized actress kicking real butt, isn’t?

  • Emily R

    Sometimes more is more. She looks amazing. And you are right about the hair.

  • http://www.annchingwang.com Annching Wang

    I think it’s a beautiful cover! I like coats, and this is a beautiful one. She looks amazing in it. People are looking way too deeply into this, and making an issue out of nothing. Beauty does not necessarily equate skin, and in no way does covering up equal insecurity. I think this cover is a breath of fresh air.

  • Carrie

    I think that Mccarthy’s cover is nicer than all the rest. She looks the most glamourous out of any of the women. Her cover stands out to me the most not because of what she is wearing, but because she is breaking eye contact! The others, while each in different poses, all stare into the camera.

  • Rachel

    Ha! Jacket-gate: provided that was said with tongue firmly in cheek, I love it. As for the cover itself, I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it unless someone else pointed it out. That’s not to say that the point isn’t necessarily valid, just that it wasn’t immediately apparent to me. I like the cover. I think it would have been better if you couldn’t see that there was a dress underneath (I.e. chop off the bottom inch?). That way, the viewer would be left with the teasing/nagging thought to contemplate whether this sexy lady is wearing anything else (or isn’t she?)….

    • Mattie Kahn

      you are so right. if there’s even a hint of frumpiness about the image, it’s only in that bottom inch. I hadn’t noticed it until you pointed it out, but trimming that off could have made this image seriously iconic.

  • Amanda

    I have absolutely no problem with the cover. I thought she looked stunning! My first reaction was the pose, jacket, hair, skin: perfection. I didn’t even think of her size. She just looks amazing, they need to give it a rest!

  • Meredith M Howard

    I can see both sides to the issue, but my initial reaction was the same as most other people here – She looks beautiful. I actually like her cover the best out of all of them. I question more why Shailene Woodley had to bare so much skin. Bravo to Melissa for making an oversized coat look hot!

  • sera

    Penelope Cruz only got her face shot. So, it could be worse. Sounds like people are making something out of nothing.

  • H Hilton

    If you photoshopped Reese, Shailene, Marion and Naomie’s cover photos together they could pass as a girl band in their skin baring coordinated outfits. Throw Melissa into the mix and she would stick out like a sore thumb in her overly-over sized jacket. There is a noticeable contrast in the outfits here which is astonishing to see. It seems that outfit choice is proportioned between weight of wearer and mass of clothing. Disappointing to see, I thought fashion had moved on from this, they need to catch up.

  • traceytlw

    I’m a big girl myself. And while I applaud plus-size women who love to flaunt their curves, I am not one of them. I too would be much more comfortable in the gorgeous coat. They’ve said she requested it, she has said she requested it, who is anyone to demand that she wear something else?

  • Luarnaiz

    I am geting real tired of all this “curvy woman”. Being sexy is a matter of attitude, inteligence, sofistication, being authentic, and having some conversation. Regardless of your bra size or the number on the scale.

    So, yes, she is bigger that the other girls in the cover, but that doesnt mean she has to show her “curves” in order to make her an incredible woman.

    • gia2577

      You nailed this answer! Exactly how I feel.

    • Kristy

      This reminds me of a dialogue that has been ongoing–plus sized models don’t have to be “proud of who they are” by being naked all the time

  • Brie

    Damn Mel looks hot! The bigger issue for me is why they feel the need to put the youngest one of all in the least amount of clothing. Mel is fashion. Shailene is naked.

  • Rebeka Osborne

    Girlfriend looks AH-mazing on the cover. I personally really love the coat, props to her for wearing exactly what she wanted to wear and looking awesome while doing so. #hatersgonnahate

  • Juliette Laura

    If McArthy loved it then I don’t see why people are upset, I am sure she looked stunning in the dress, but this cover is SO original. She looks beautiful, and very November appropriate. I personally love it.

    xo, Juliette Laura
    http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/InfiniteStyleShop

  • Celine (from Brasil)

    All these women are actresses, not models – although almost all of them aspire to, it seems. They don’t need to show any skin at all, but they choose to.
    Melissa and Penelope choose not to… and their covers are by far my favorites. Melissa in a terrific coat and Penelope with just her face.
    That’s all there is to it.
    On the other hand, there’s amazing (few, but amazing) examples of fashion celebrating curves and gorgeous fat women… see, for exemple, Tara Lynn at the cover of french Elle in 2012.

  • J Otwell

    the irony is lost on critics of Melissa’s, cover, it outshines the rest!

  • ashley

    She looks like she’s going to end up at some hunky man’s door and whisper ‘baby it’s cold outside’. Too bad the other girls didn’t hear her. Less is not always more. And as a ‘stick’, I don’t think of her as a plus sized woman. I think of her as human and beautifully quirky with talent.

  • http://www.downtownhautefashion.blogspot.com/ Leslie

    I think it’s very appropriate for the season and if that’s what she felt comfortable in then that’s what she chose to wear. I have no issue with it.

  • Ero Fix

    I think that there’s actual variety shown, not just in body types, but
    in the outfits as well. I’d be more offended if there was an extreme
    close-up cutting her body out of frame. Instead, they chose that for le
    petit Cruz’s cover. McCarthy appears on trend and sophisticated in an
    outfit she selected.
    This reeks of controversy for controversy’s (or PR’s) sake.

    • debiparna c

      they did that to cruz because of pregnancy..or so i read somewhere else

  • Julia Roe

    She looks sensational. Maybe she’ll wear a curvy revealing dress next time, but nothing should diminish how good this cover looks!

  • Crystal

    Sometimes we get in an uproar for absolutely no reason…Actually, we often do. What amazes me is that people totally overlooked that over-sized coats are kind of a thing this season. I mean come on, it’s been trending for few consecutive seasons now. She looks on trend and beautiful. What’s the fuss about?

  • http://jessjoycej.wordpress.com/ Jessica Joyce

    They’re all just Photoshopped anyway, right?

    Your Friend, Jess

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    I love the cover! Classy, elegant and seasonally appropriate. I’m so sick to death of the utterly predictable, done to death “showing of skin/celebration of curves” that we’re constantly bombarded with. I truly never need to see another celebrity butt shot or barely there garment, featuring desperate amounts of cleavage. I used to favor sexy-ish clothing, but the gross overexposure of just about everyone has got me turned off and going in the opposite direction. At least the cover showed some independent thinking, instead of just serving up more of the usual tired *ss “skin”.

  • Catherine

    I think the cover’s great. Very appropriate for the season (fashion wise and weather wise). The controversy probably comes from when you look at all the covers together. They should’ve made each one more individual and unique on its own. It looks like there was a brief for body conscious, minimal styling… and then theres Melissa McCarthy on her own in a big coat and Penelope Cruz with a random beauty shot. No cohesion when you look at them all together… but again, I like Melissa’s cover so whatevs!

  • Lilli

    I’m sick of hearing ‘plus size’… McCarthy like millions of other women are just ‘a’ size. Reese and Penelope Cruz are ‘a’ size. Why do we need to highlight that she is plus size because at the end of the day she isnt some creature that we have never ever seen before she is just like any other woman out there….different to everyone else

  • Cat

    I LOVE IT!

  • be

    I think she looks gorgeous
    But here’s a thing I’ve been thinking about ManRepeller.com in general, and it is that, well … it’s quite fashionable to be a repeller like Leandra who has amazing legs and a quite a small size. But what about the fashionable-repellent-style applied to those who are not skinny. It ends being kind of costume-like looks (and I’m quite big, so I know what I’m talking about…)

    My point is: when you’re fat, is very difficult to pull off repellent in fashion outfits. So, what about that? Is there any place for the “not-Leandra-size” girls in manrepeller?

    That being said, I love the site and I think you (all of you) are quite funny, pretty and likeable ladies

    pd. sorry for my poor English skills.

    • Celine (from Brasil)

      i believe your question is relevant, Be.
      I am a big girl too and I gave up on corky clothing a long time ago… there’s no way we can pull it off. It looks costumy and plain ridiculous.
      But we can be trendy and fashion forward! I know I am. :D

    • marita_hunt

      For what it’s worth, I think that a consciously costumey, quirky outfit can often look strange and awkward on slim girls of the traditional-fashion-body type too. The real success of an outfit is when the clothes and the body sort of ‘merge’ to be a strong expression of the personality wearing them. It’s about finding a balance! I’ve definitely been through the crazy clothing phase and have learned that the things I like in theory might not work in practice. When you find something that feels like a second skin, like YOU, wear the hell out of it and people tend to see your confidence and personal style coming through.

    • http://www.looksharpsconnie.com/ Look Sharp Sconnie

      v interesting point. I hear this a lot.

      I don’t completely know why, though. I think it has something to w/ confidence, or, as @marita_hunt:disqus put it, a “merging” of personality and clothing. Larger women can pull off repellent clothing if they have the confidence to repel. I do, however, think society makes many women feel as if they’re not allowed to rebel sartorially, because without that aid, they’ll never be beautiful. That’s obviously false, but it does prove that man repellers of average (non stick figure) sizes have more bravery than those predisposed to think that their weight alone can carry them through life, so it doesn’t matter how they dress.

  • 33

    love that coat, wish i have one, too. it’s very french chic. there are a lot of coat wearing street style photos popping up now that the weather is getting cooler. i don’t see why she can’t wear a killer overcoat on a mag cover. perfect hair and complexion (lighting), too.

  • Katie

    I actually think she looks hot in the coat! She makes it WORK! So many other people wouldn’t be able to say that. Let her do what she wants! I mean come on. She IS one of the best “Women In Hollywood”. She’s fab and she looks just as fierce as the others. AND SHE”S ACTUALLY WEARING CLOTHES.

  • http://brokeandchic.com/ Broke & Chic

    All the cover girls are gorgeous and I like how they are all dressed differently. To be honest, Melissa is styled the best. It’s cold in November, why do you need to wear a bathing suit?

  • ashley

    while i agree that it’s not “why did they cover her up” so much as it is “why don’t they cover others up?” i think it’s worthwhile recognizing how often they toss a coat on the cover.

    regardless, melissa is rocking the look SO hard. love it.

    quick aside, i’ve also been really digging this song lately, take a listen (might just be right up your alley!) http://ow.ly/q9KpY (if link doesn’t work youtube/google ‘sylvana joyce the moment’). hope to see more of your stuff soon! xx

  • Filipa

    To me, the one cover that stands out, is Penelope’s. A bit too 90′s and doesn’t relate to the others at all. McCarthy looks awesome and powerful, and her oh-look-november-wind hair goes perfectly with that coat. I think that people are making this a bigger issue (pun intended, but just a little bit) than it should be.

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    It’s true that her beauty is not really revealed on this cover, compared to the other women. But that’s just my opinion.

    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • http://FrenchCalifornian.blogspot.com/ Hannah Wilson

    It’s almost as if there is no right way to handle the situation. Wear a big coat: feel shame for apparently, they imply, feeling the shame of having a larger figure. Wear a skimpy dress: feel shame that we’re objectifying and sexualizing a “great personality.”

    What’s with the constant, exhausting, relentless, postfeminist self-surveillance?! It’s just gotta stop. It’s like a demented battle in the mind:

    “Embrace your femininity with boldness, or else we’ll pile a heap of shame on your head!”
    “But don’t sex it up too much, because then we’ll DEFINITELY pile a heap of shame on your head!”

    Accept the large coat. Accept the skimpy dress. When did the difference between the two get so darn complicated?

  • MaryRose

    I think each one of these ladies deserves the title that has been bestowed to them, that said I also think McCathy is the only one that owned it!! Also It feels like there is a point to her cover, just to the left it reads ‘The Perfect New Coat Shape.” Umm hi i think Melissa is wearing it and now who doesn’t want that coat and to be McCathy?!! As for everyone else where was their mom reminding them to grab their coat because baby it’s november and it’s cold outside.

  • http://www.elrincondemisalhajas.com/ El Rincón de Mis Alhajas

    She looks great!

  • http://victoriapavlova.com Victoria Pavlova

    I absolutely love the coat itself. And Melissa looks appropriately high-fashion-y. So it feels like an outrage for the sake of outrage. Give the girl some cashmere!

  • Holly-Bella

    I absolutely love the cover, and everything about McCarthy, really. She’s beyond awesome.

    http://thepersephonecomplex.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Sarah Fentem

    I love it because there’s nothing more FASHUN than an expensive-as-fuck coat. With the exception of Penelope maybe, the other covers are so par-for-the-course and uninspired you could swap them with pretty much any other glossy at the checkout and I wouldn’t know the difference. That coat (and Melissa too) makes me want to throw down the five bucks. Not so with the others.

    • Sarah Fentem

      I love the Naomie Harris shot but that outfit is ridiculous for a November cover.

      • Mattie Kahn

        Completely agree. She looks beautiful, but they could have done so much more with her. Cut-outs don’t cut it.

  • Hope Varnedoe

    i’m a plus-size woman myself and when i saw this cover my very first thought was “she looks incredible”. seeing the uproar over it has honestly, surprised me. i believe for the first time a magazine actually put out a flattering picture of a plus-sized woman. she looks sexy, stylish and strong. oversized coats are so on trend. honestly, all the uproar seems to be much ado about nothing, especially considering Melissa herself wanted to wear the coat.

  • Jess

    I don’t get the controversy at all. This is one of the very few occasions that we see a woman with figure, and by figure I mean a body that is not just head in two sticks, on the cover of a fashion magazine, just to be critizised the shit out of it. It’s so sad. I wonder if any other magazine will board the presentation of female body after such harsh critique. With or without the coat, I think we should be supportive with this change and not judge it in one way or another. I mean, I want to see different kinds of female bodies presented in public, because there are many women like Melissa that deserve the glory.

  • Peg

    Her cover is the sexiest out of all of them! The eyes, the hair, the attitude! It has nothing to do with clothing. Shailene, who is beautiful, looks like a little girl next to her. I’m surprised there are not more uproar about what she was wearing because I don’t get it.

  • Lynda

    The McCarthy cover is my favourite, even before I was aware of the controversy. The others are unattractive and boring. Different is good.

  • Anastasia Folorunso

    Much Ado about Nothing.

  • Erika

    I really don’t understand the hub bub about the cover either. I think all of the women look stunning on their respective covers. Plus, if she wanted to wear the coat, why is this still an issue?

  • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

    If SHE PICKED THE COAT, then people need to shut up about it. It was her decision, and if she wants to rock a comfy cashmere coat, then who cares?

    Frankly, I was more put off by how little clothing some of the others were wearing. I know Marion Cotillard and Shailene Woodley are skinny and that’s great and all…but their covers looked a bit less…classically graceful Hollywood…than McCarthy’s or Witherspoon’s. Abs are great and all…but seriously…put them in something a bit more Vogue and a bit less Maxim, please.

    ps – I want that hair. Big, flouncy, messy hair. It’s amazing!

  • Pualani@TheRustedKey

    McCarthy does look exceptional here. I can see how this picture would be judged wrongly if it was a summer edition, but the fact is that it IS a November issue AND, as it says right on the cover to her left, it discusses a “New Coat Shape,” which just so happens to be the style McCarthy is wearing. Why isn’t Penelope Cruz’ picture being scrutinized because of her beauty shot? Her body isn’t showing, so does that mean Elle wanted to hide it?

  • gia2577

    Unfortunately today everything has to be PC (politically correct) and that’s the annoying thing with the world today, we are almost going backwards. She looks fantastic who gives a shit what she is wearing or how big or small she is, the cover is stunning. People have to find something to constantly be negative or bitch about..

  • heather nicole

    I can’t decide whether I’m more jealous of her hair or her coat. It’s so damn hot in Florida.

  • Kristy

    Goes to show, there’s really nothing wrong with anyone’s bodies, stick or curved (unless you have a eating/body disorder whether it’s anorexia or obesity). Rather, our sense of the “perfect body” is dictated by CLOTHES.

    So um, Fashion, your models look great in Calvin Klein and everything, but you make everyone else with the slightest hint of a bust look like a fat pig.

  • Carmen

    I believe that the controversy of this cover shows how deep the double standards go. I don’t think that if one of the other ladies had been wearing a coat it would have gotten the same attention.

  • sally

    I love this cover. She is sassy, beautiful and full of life….as opposed to the stick thin “stepford wives” that grace most covers. Bravo!

  • lc

    “For me, a woman who is absorbed in her work, who does not care
    about gaining one’s favour, strong yet subtle at the same time, is
    essentially more seductive. The more she hides and abandons her
    femininity, the more it emerges from the very heart of her existence.”

    — Yohji Yamamoto

  • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

    As a plus woman I loved the cover. I basically stopped reading comments on “scandals” like this. She looks amazing! I’m pretty sure there are a lot of options for her as a plus women but that coat, the big hair to me looked amazing and worked. If people are saying she wanted to wear that then why is it an issue? When i saw this on a lot of my other blogger friends sites there was nothing negative about it, well i should say no one mentioned how they didn’t like it. All i saw was a lot of curvy women who loved it.

  • Jeannie Shmina Greenwald

    I was completely drawn into that cover. I loved that it was her, not a typical choice, and thought she looked amazing in that coat. I never considered it ‘covering up’, I bought the magazine, and I am pretty sure I would not have done that had someone else been on the cover. It was very alluring to me, and made me want to settle in and page through during my flight. I chose Elle over the Madonna Bazaar cover (god, I’m tired of her) and… who was on Vogue? Melissa’s cover got my five bucks.

  • Hiding McCarthy

    I don’t think she looks good. She looks frumpy. Generally covers are an opportunity to celebrate the appeal and attractiveness of the woman. Being covered up in a coat (without any leg, declotahe, anything showing) is atypical. I feel like the coat and the hair are designed to hide her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to loose sleep about it but it is odd.

  • Vive la France

    This is a real fashion shot regardless of who, what or why! Those beautiful retro shots of voluminous Christian Dior coats and evening wear had that je ne sais quoi and this has got it in buckets … or that should be ‘bouquets’.

  • marie a

    I love the cover too, she looks great. But I still understand the controversy… I don’t think it’s about it being a bad cover, but just the reason for the contrast with the others. With the exception of Penelope Cruz’s cover, it does look as though the other four are coordinated in little strappy numbers. And if McCarthy did want to cover up, than of course, she should do that. It just seems interesting that strappy dresses and body suits would be chosen for the others for a November issue in the first place. And maybe I’m being negative, but considering fashion’s history with plus-sized women, I have wonder if the Cruz cover was chosen after the McCarthy cover, to help avoid some of this controversy. It just seems like there is an obvious theme, and then these two really stick out.

  • Diego

    I think she’s just stunning and as I read somewhere, she knows that the cover is out in november, if I’m not wrong, it’s winter right? so why not use a warm coat?? to me, honestly, it’s the only cover that makes any sense at all.

  • http://www.thelifestyledblog.com/ Catherine Sheppard

    When I first saw this cover, before I knew there were other covers and before there was backlash, I was completely taken by how chic she looked in that coat, and her gorgeous hair and makeup. I thought “Well done, Elle and Melissa” and that was that. It annoys me that people keep making a thing about “plus size.” It only draws more attention and creates a divide between fat and skinny when our heads may not have even gone there in the first place if people didn’t make it such a THING. If they had put her in a skimpy dress like some of the others, it would have been Photoshop central (as it is with every mag cover) and everyone would be up in arms about that. So let’s all just calm down and enjoy the refreshing cover, and the fact that you can cover up in cozy luxury and still look stunning.

  • Tamara

    So…we’re constantly hearing that it’s “all about the coat.” And I don’t know about the rest of you but THIS girl is looking to buy coats, not bathing suits, in November! The bathing suit cover looks ridiculous to me, as do the strappy dresses. Personally, I’d like to see the cover models in sweaters and tights (maybe even sme that I could possibly afford!) full disclosure: I am not a curvy girl. Im a stick straight distance runner. If that matters.

  • debiparna c

    i actually like the cover..and as everyone is saying i like that she wore a coat..and the others didn’t..the issue is (and barely anyone has noticed) how her double chin got completely photoshopped..am sure the rest of her got the liquifying wand treatment as well.

  • Ttrockwood

    I love the photograph, but would have liked to see it inside as part of the editorial or article photos, she looks awesome and the image is compelling, but the impact of melissa on the cover in a sexy black dress would have truly been a statement. Elle chickened out

    • Mattie Kahn

      I hear you, but, personally, I think this photo is pretty sexy! No?

  • Alexa D. Freeman

    I love the coat. I love the way she looks (post sex is a beautiful thing) and I think just as it is evident to tell a 100 pound model that she doesn’t have to bear it all to be beautiful/sexy the same phrase can be said to a larger, but equally beautiful size women like Melissa McCarthy. Applause for Elle.

  • Carla Molina

    This is insane my favorite covers are the ones with Melissa and Penelope those are the only ones that are fall appropriate! Umm the swimsuit one is not a Nov cover for sure.
    Xo,
    Shabbymechic.blogspot.com

  • marita_hunt

    I can see why everyone has reacted so strongly to this cover, but after thinking about it for a week ago, I feel really good about it. They put her whole body on the cover, and it’s a serious *fashion* cover. Remember a vogue plus size issue a while back in which Crystal Renn and a few other plus size models were just in lingerie on the cover and throughout? It’s nice to see a plus size woman treated as a fashion object (in a truly ‘man-repelling’ outfit too!), and not fetishised as a sexy curvy woman with big boobs. She looks great, and the cover has so much energy. It’s my favourite one.
    On another note, I feel like Elle is letting up on the photoshop. The skin of all the models has a little more texture – freckles, wrinkles and moles – than we’re used to seeing, and it’s beautiful. Makes me want to reach out and touch my screen!

  • http://www.looksharpsconnie.com/ Look Sharp Sconnie

    I work in a fitting room all day and frankly, it’s a bolder move for a bigger woman to swathe herself in something oversized and luxurious than it is to “highlight her curves”.

    Feeling comfortable in whatever is what confidence is all about. I love the idea that small girls and big girls alike can just throw on an oversized men’s coat and go. No worries for figure-flattery.

  • Sara

    Melissa McCarthy looks AMAZING. I don’t get the controversy why its such a big deal she threw on a coat.. I mean the coat is beyond fab. and she looks gorgeous. I also love her comment in this post. We should have more people like her in Hollywood

  • Rachel

    Hers is the only cover thay stood out to me. But it never stood out to me as being being negative for the coat. It stood out because she is so incredibly beautiful. Everyone is used to seeing her as the funny one or the goofy girl but here she is magnificent. That hair! Sweet baby Lincoln she looks gorgeous! To me there isn’t a thing out of place or wrong with this cover. Maybe the fact that we are all reading so deeply into it, highlights a problem that viewers and consumers have with bigger women. Instead of criticizing the magazine or even the fashion industry we should analyze the role we play in such stereotypes or views

  • Sydney

    Melissa McCarthy looks great. End of story. The sexiness in true fashion is NOT about wearing less. Yes, many women look stunning in barely-there dresses/oversized men’s shirts, etc. but true sexiness is a combination of a woman’s inner and outer characteristics. I agree with the article, her hair is fabulous. And not only is the coat a great one but the shot makes me wonder what’s underneath. That’s more sexy in my opinion. And most importantly it’s HER cover and and as long as SHE feels fucking fabulous who are we to tell her she looks any different?? Congrats on the beautiful cover Melissa!

  • Carrie Young

    I think the coat is fabulous but I hate to say it, not loving the hair. It’s not modern and I think it ages her.

  • Mimi

    My only issue with this issue (pun definitely intended) is the hair which makes her look like a younger, thinner Abbey lee Miller

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