The January issue of women's magazines have become quite homogenous at this point. It's a new year, and readers are resolving to turn their lives around. There are only so many times that editors can write "New Year, New You!" on a cover without it feeling like a bunch of empty promises.
For the January 2015 issue of O, Oprah's team found a way to stand out from the rest of the pack — or pride, if we're being technical. The theme is "Brave New You!," and the cover features Oprah posing with a massive lion. (Apologies to Gayle King if this is the first she's learning of O's new best friend.)
Although the theme of the issue is "Brave New You," Oprah wasn't actually that balls to the wall when it came to posing for the cover. See, she and Beast, her 10-year-old African lion cover costar, posed separately. Beast was photographed one day earlier, and his caretaker was on the site to make sure everything went smoothly.
Oprah posed for her part of the photo the next day and went Method to get the tactile experience of posing with a lion without the actual danger. George DeLacy, a member of the set-design team, donned a full lion costume and cuddled up alongside Winfrey. All of these details are revealed in a behind-the-scenes photo series inside the January issue called "The Lion, the Switch, and the Wardrobe."
The fact that Oprah was actually sort of cowardly when it came to posing with a real, live lion on the cover of the so-called bravery issue might make you balk. But, know that she was courageous in other ways. "Make sure the left breast is out of sight," she told the crew about her daring green gown with its plunging neckline. Brazen!
What's most important is that no Oprahs were harmed in the making of this magazine cover. Keep clicking for more behind-the-scenes trickery.