Beyoncé Pulled The Biggest Power Play In Vogue

Photo: VOGUE/Mario Testino.
This year’s array of big-ticket September-issue covers has hit the newsstand by now, and though all the attention gets paid to each glossy’s coup, the accompanying cover stories barely get discussed. Maybe that’s because once you’ve read one A-lister’s profile in any of the major fashion titles, it can kind of feel like you’ve read them all. But Beyoncé’s Vogue story is quite different from the rest, as The New York Times points out: Queen Bey doesn’t say a word.

Instead, there's a brief piece penned by Pulitzer Prize-winner Margo Jefferson, a "write-around" of why Beyoncé is such a big deal. That's in lieu of a traditional celeb cover profile, which is typically fawning and involves exotic locales or experiences, whether it's Reese Witherspoon learning to ride an elephant in 2011 (it was for a role, not just for the benefit of a cover story, granted) or Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss road-tripping for the magazine's March cover. Last September's cover, with its ensemble of models, including Cara Delevingne and Joan Smalls, was more about the fact that models — plural — were chosen for a September issue, making the typical "intimate" celeb feature less relevant (the girls answered questions online for the story, fittingly). For the September 2013 cover, Jennifer Lawrence's cover-profile activity was pretty tame (she opted for lunch at classic NYC restaurant The Odeon), but, as always, she was frank and funny and awesomely off kilter in the profile.

"It is part of the bargain struck between celebrities and the news media, where face time and a few juicy first-person revelations are traded for a starring role," The Times said of the standard protocol for cover stars. Beyoncé is the exception to a whopping five years' worth of Vogue cover stories where the faces on the front of the magazine actually deign to hang with a writer for an interview. Beyond the tony glossy, the star actually hasn't done an in-person interview in eons (perhaps up to two years of staying mum), says the newspaper; she's sometimes given email interviews in place of talking IRL, or submitted hypercontrolled taped material (like her HBO documentary, or TV segments).

In addition to not talking for the story, Bey also looks exactly the same as we've seen her before: Robin Givhan wrote in the National Post about the "same-old" nature of this year's September covers across the newsstand. "These are all terrific images, but one wishes that these photographs would tell us something we didn’t already know...there is something disappointing about the imagery. We have seen this before," Givhan wrote. She also singles out Vogue's Bey cover (and the "exclusive" accompanying video) as being "especially disappointing in their familiarity." So, she didn't have to chat or switch up her look in the slightest for the occasion.

It's unclear exactly why or how Beyoncé got out of giving an interview while still nabbing that coveted September spot. She does already have two Vogue covers in the bank, so what more could she want to talk about for her third cover turn? Other recent times Beyoncé has been on a cover, such as for CR Fashion Book and Out magazines, have involved creative approaches to the story component of the cover-story "deal" between publicists and magazines instead of an actual interview. Even if that is the case, posing for the pictures but skipping out on the (less important but still expected) interview is a total boss move.
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