For its annual “Women in TV” issue, Elle released four different covers of the February edition of the magazine. Zooey Deschanel of New Girl appears in a beautiful Valentino frock in one, Girls star Allison Williams is sultry in an off-the-shoulder navy dress in another, the third has Amy Poehler of Parks & Recreation standing strong in a Tom Ford suit, and the fourth features a stunning Mindy Kaling of The Mindy Project. The difference with Kaling’s cover, though, is that viewers can’t quite see what the beautiful and talented actress is wearing. The image is mostly of her face and shoulders. The former three photographs show the other starlets in a nearly full length, in-color shot.
Readers questioned the decision immediately, as the seemingly strategic cropping was much too reminiscent of the November Elle cover in which Melissa McCarthy’s plus size body was covered with an oversized jacket for the magazine shoot. After all, Kaling, having revealed in her bestselling memoir Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? that she’s a normal and healthy size 8, is not of the standard Hollywood weight. She’s not ashamed either, talking publicly of the ridiculous struggle to fit in in an industry that values skinny.
Elle responded to the controversy telling E! News, “Mindy looks sexy, beautiful and chic. We think it is a striking and sophisticated cover and are thrilled to celebrate her in our Women in TV Issue.” Editor in chief Robbie Myers reiterated that each cover remains “distinctive.”
As for Kaling? She’s added her two cents on the matter in a humorous way. “Wishing for more skin on my @ELLEmagazine cover?” she tweeted. “Chris Messina & I are naked on a brand new #themindyproject tonight, ya pervs! 930/830 FOX.” The actresss and comedian followed up with a second tweet, writing, “I love my @ELLEmagazine cover. It made me feel glamorous & cool. And if anyone wants to see more of my body, go on thirteen dates with me.”
Controversy aside, Kaling looks beyond lovely, but we’re curious to hear your thoughts on the other matters. Was the cropped cover a creative decision or a strategic one? Do you still see Elle Magazine as an empowerer of women today or as an enabler to the problematic fashion industry?