Lucky Magazine editor regrets digitally slimming Jessica Simpson for 2010 cover

Last week Kaiser covered The OG Supermodels being Vogue’s September cover girls, and y’all had definite thoughts about the photos. The general consensus seems to be that something is a little off with the cover shot, whether it’s photoshopping… or some other factors. While weighing in on the topic in a blog post for Cup of Jo, former Editor-In-Chief of Lucky magazine Kim France admitted to her role in an infamous photoshop fail: Jessica Simpson’s appearance on Lucky in 2010. France recounted some of her “reasoning” to Yahoo Life:

Photoshop on a body-positive story, because of course: Jessica Simpson spoke about “finally loving her body” for the Sept. 2010 issue of Lucky, according to the cover that the singer and former reality TV star appeared on. However, her image next to those words didn’t depict Simpson in her true form at all. It’s a revelation that the magazine’s former editor-in-chief Kim France made in a blog post on Aug. 15 when reflecting on the prevalence of photoshopping on covers (after suspecting that there had been retouching on the latest issue of Vogue).

Jessica was size 14 then, quelle horreur: “When the cover film came in, we could see that [Simpson] was about a size 14 — which is considered normal by many rational standards, but not by glossy magazine standards, not in 2010, and not by a long shot,” France wrote for Cup of Jo. “I’d like to be able to tell you that I fearlessly insisted we put her on the cover anyway, looking the way she actually looked. I did not. … We made her skinnier — much skinnier than she actually was.” France tells Yahoo Life that “it was an estimation” to label Simpson a size 14 at the time. Nevertheless, she says, “You simply didn’t see larger or even average-shaped women on covers back then, unless they were Oprah.”

Lip service: “Jessica Simpson has undergone a noteworthy personal style evolution, inspired, she says, by coming to terms with some serious body issues over the course of the last year,” reads an excerpt from the magazine. “She stopped fighting her hourglass silhouette, for instance, after realizing that ‘we all obsess over looking like the perfect Barbie type, and that’s not always what’s beautiful. It’s about making peace with yourself.’” It was a minimal and contradictory effort when paired with the admission of retouching. “That cover line is probably the most embarrassing aspect of the whole cover, and I obviously really regret it,” France says. “I think the idea of body positivity at the time was more a question of lip service, as opposed to now, when it seems to come from a more sincere place.”

They simply had no choice: To this day, France maintains that she had no choice but to alter Simpson’s appearance. “Once we had shot a size-14 woman for the cover, that cover wouldn’t have made it out the door and past the bosses unless she was slimmed down,” she wrote. “And so I did that, to an insulting degree.” She went on to write, “Jessica Simpson herself was said to have hated the cover, and who could possibly have blamed her?”

[From Yahoo! Life]

Ok here’s where I’m struggling: this editor is hemming and hawing about how no one would approve a (gasp) size 14 woman on the cover in 2010, so they just had to photoshop Jessica… but, um, who booked her for the cover?! Doesn’t it seem like the so-to-speak problem was entirely of their own creation? “When the cover film came in, we could see that [Simpson] was about a size 14,” but they’d seen her before the photo shoot! How were they possibly caught off guard here? Booking Jessica in the first place was the moment where they were taking a stand, only it seems they missed their own memo.

In the blog post where Kim France shared this story, she revealed she was fired a few weeks after that issue hit the stands. Then she went on to reflect on what she’d have done differently in hindsight, and her conclusion was “to not book somebody that size in the first place.” Yikes. Now see, when I look back with hindsight, my thought is that there was so much worse to come in the decade, that seeing a size 14 woman on the cover of a magazine in 2010 would not have been the unfathomable upheaval she makes it out to be.

photos via Instagram, Lucky Magazine and credit WENN

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21 Responses to “Lucky Magazine editor regrets digitally slimming Jessica Simpson for 2010 cover”

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  1. Bam says:

    Wow. It’s 2023. Get with the times and more body positivity. What an awful human

  2. Normades says:

    Aside from the larger issues here, that is some horribly awful photoshopping. Like they seriously thought no one would notice?

  3. Pinkosaurus says:

    Ugh this is terrible from all angles. I hope we’ve moved on but I suspect the pressure from editors and advertisers is the exact same. Book a person of color but lighten them and change their hair, book someone larger than a toothpick and completely reshape them by photoshop…and then wonder why every cover looks the exact same.

  4. K says:

    How far have we really come. I feel like it’s more about corporations have realized that women over a size 6 also have jobs and buy stuff? And now we have the Ozempic craze so again I ask how far have we really come.

  5. Velvet Elvis says:

    Even during periods when she was larger, i always thought she was still a beauty. l don’t know about you but I would gladly take 2010 size 14 Jessica over 2023 giant fake lips and gaunt face Jessica.

    • Cherry says:

      @velvet Elvis ugh, I really don’t know. Thinking back of that recent JS interview where she denies using Oz and credits her recent thinness to “discipline”… I felt for her in 2010 and I feel for her now. Sounds like this whole “coming to terms with some serious body issues over the course of the last year” is still going on. And if you read what she had, and undoubtedly still has to deal with, no wonder.

  6. Kebbie says:

    I haven’t read the original article, but the excerpted quotes are so bitchy.

    “Not by glossy magazine standards…and not by a long shot”

    “We made her skinnier – much skinnier than she actually was”

    Then she repeatedly labels Jessica a 14, even though she admits she’s just guessing that number?

    The faux regret and shame as she’s blaming society and standards and the bosses…a certain c word came to mind after reading this. She was more concerned with emphasizing just how big Jessica was and how unacceptable it was to do anything but photoshop away all that extra size than with actually expressing any genuine regret.

    • Kitten says:

      I doubt she was size 14. If you google the time period where everyone lost their mind–when she did that concert wearing high-waisted jeans–she was *maybe* 15 lbs over her normal weight and my guess is a size 8/9. TBC, I don’t think it really matters beyond the fact that we are a society that obsesses over numbers on our pants or scale. But seriously she looked totally great in those photos–not overweight AT ALL. The woman who photoshopped her has a very warped view on body size.

      I think we still face a lot of pressure to look a certain way–now hourglass is the obsession–but we’ve made some progress in that area. Like, nobody would freak over out the way they did 15, 20 years ago over a celeb gaining a tiny bit of weight.

      • Ameerah M says:

        She was a size 12 AT THE MOST. No way was she ever a size 14. But this just goes to show this woman’s not only ignorance but fat phobia. Because Jessica wasn’t a size 2 she just HAD to be a size 14.

      • BeyondTheFringe says:

        Yeah, I came here to say the same thing: having been a size 14 a lot of my life, I do not think Jessica Simpson has ever been that size in the public eye–when not pregnant obvs–and certainly not at that time.

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a size 14 but that editor doesn’t know her *ss from a hole in the ground if she thinks that JS from that era was that size.

      • Snoozer says:

        Jessica is 5’1”. She is tiny. I would say she’s been a size 6-8 at her largest, absolute max a 9-10 (and I doubt she was this size in 2010). Short women look bigger in smaller sizes. Let’s not forget that cameras flatten and make you look bigger than you are too. The idea that she was a size 14 is absolutely ludicrous. This woman is foul.

  7. Eurydice says:

    Every morning I wake up to somebody confessing they were a jackass 15 years ago – don’t people go to church anymore? Ok, that’s my grump for the day.

    The implication here is that France was fired because of the cover but, as I recall, Lucky was in trouble for a while. The magazine was all about shopping, people were now shopping online, Lucky was losing subscribers and Conde Nast was chopping other publications. There must have been a lot of turmoil in that office at the time.

  8. Naye In VA says:

    She got fired (I hope) because it’s an awful cover. Just, the worst. Nobody can blame it on the subject of the photo

  9. Ameerah M says:

    This woman STILL sounds like a sizist a$$hole 13 years later.

    • DK says:

      @Ameerah, 100% this.

      Like, why bother doing this little confessional if you can’t decide whether you feel genuine regret and want to apologize for it/have learned & grown from it; or whether you want to blame everyone else around you for “forcing” you into that choice; or whether you would STILL make a sizist jerk choice today, given your hindsight on this issue.

      That woman has not grown at all.

  10. KitKat says:

    I’ve been following Kim on her website for a long time. I was also working in the entertainment industry in LA when all of this happened. It was BRUTAL. One of those things where I would say if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.

    As a society we have come a LONG way in the past 15 years. The internalized misogyny women of my generation and older still possess is going to take a lifetime to unpack.

    Lucky Magazine was in trouble and the Simpson cover was a sign of the times. Kim, like many of us from that era, has grown and evolved.

    Also, I don’t see male editors from the lad mags and fitness mags being called to account for the unrealistic covers they produced with male fitness models . Only a woman is being questioned for her professional choices. One of the few women editors in chief of a major publication at the time.

    • teecee says:

      She wrote the post herself, and now people are commenting (“questioning”) her about what SHE WROTE HERSELF. Perhaps if she wasn’t seeking sympathy for the horrible decisions SHE MADE HERSELF (see a pattern here?), she wouldn’t get this reaction.

      Being a woman should not be a shield from critique, and it’s certainly not a get out of jail free card for misogyny.

      FYI, I was also working in entertainment at the time (on the fashion side, but in NYC) and saw a lot of sh*t too. Yes, if a man were to make a similar declaration, he probably wouldn’t be called out to this degree. That is partly sexism, and partly because the people responding feel betrayed by women who do this to their own kind.

  11. AA says:

    I also followed Kim’s website for a long time. Then she went to Substack and now she’s charging for her “content” (links to stuff she recommends, so she gets money from that too) because she said she can’t afford not to (after taking a European jaunt this summer and continuing to buy ridiculously expensive stuff). I did not elect to pay for her content. She does sometimes talk about what she pushed all those years at Lucky, but I’m not sure she understands she’s still in the 1%. I enjoyed looking at her stuff when it was free, but to pay for it? No.

    • elizabeth says:

      I follow her website too. There’s still free content on it, but it’s the shopping content. That was always a big part of her prior website so it doesn’t bother me. I like the types of clothes she posts, but not sure I want to pay to read her other content.

  12. Emily says:

    Jessica is not tall. So there’s no way she was ever a size 14. Short girls can looks curvy at a size 6 or 8.

    That photoshop is horrendous. It’s worse then the concave walls the Kardashians post on Instagram. Her hips are missing entirely.