Why We're Not So Sure About The Latest Harper's Bazaar Cover Girl

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With the upcoming release of Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, Selena Gomez's PR team is clearly on a rampage to transform this Disney starlet's image from squeaky-clean to sexy and adult in time to make her believable in this very edgy film co-starring James Franco and Vanessa Hudgens, another former Disney kid who's already come a long way in that transitional period.

The latest installment in that endeavor comes in the form of two Harper's Bazaar covers shot by the infamous Terry Richardson. It's not her sexiness that's on display in these two images, but her supposed — and as-yet-unconfirmed — appeal to a more mature audience. Despite covering Glamour and Elle in recent memory, this is her first really credible foray into the distinctly non-tween world of high fashion.

Click through for cover number two, and our thoughts on why this is a bit of an odd move for the magazine...

Photo: Terry Richardson/Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar.
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Harper's Bazaar is about as grown-up as it gets when it comes to mainstream-fashion glossies. According to this media kit, the median age of its audience is 38 years old, and while 42% of readers share 20-year-old Selena's 18-34 age group, 43% are 35-54. We're not saying these women are too old to appreciate Selena Gomez — most magazine cover stars are in their twenties anyways, so her presence isn't an anomaly in that respect. We'd just argue that it's a little too soon. At what point is she supposed to have suddenly graduated from Disney to high-caliber acting and creative work? We have no reason to doubt her upcoming performance in Spring Breakers, but maybe it would make more sense to see her on the cover after she's made her debut into more serious acting with that project.

As an office full of Bazaar fans of varying ages, we're not so sure this is the right star for this readership. That's not a statement about Selena's talents or abilities, and maybe we're not giving the power of youth enough credit here. Maybe the masthead wants to shift the audience towards a younger group (though, that also means a drop in readers' average household income, and thus less bread and butter from luxury advertisers). But this still feels like an odd, out-of-context pairing — and the blunt, ill-placed reference to "Justin" on the cover (you know who they mean) only reinforces that Mr. Bieber, for one, has made no effort to move away from his very youthful audience...but that hasn't stopped him from nabbing some prime cover space, either.

Photo: Terry Richardson/Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar.