Who’s That Woman On The Cover of “O” Magazine?

l, c: O yesterday; r: Cover O.

l, c: O yesterday; r: Cover O.

By purest coincidence, I was looking through a magazine rack at CVS yesterday and taking notice of how well Oprah Winfrey has been keeping the pounds off lately. Then, this morning, I saw footage of her walking across a stage to announce her latest venture, something to do with chai tea. Mama mia! The woman I saw smiling and waving, presumably the real Oprah, was easily 50 pounds heavier than the look-alike who has been gracing the cover of recent O’s, though I will say, as mitigation, that the strategically shot March cover has a graphic over OW’s gut.

I could not care less how much Oprah weighs or what she looks like. However, an ethical narcissistic—and what else can you call a woman who publishes a magazine named after herself that has her as the cover model for every single issue?—has limited choices:

  • Keep yourself in fabulous shape, so you are fit to be a cover girl (by your own standards)
  • Don’t put yourself on the cover when you don’t feel cover-worthy
  • Use cartoons, or
  • Let it all hang out.

Not an ethical option: showing your loyal, trusting readers that you look one way, when in fact you look a whole lot fatter.

Yes, yes, I know—photoshopping, airbrushing, make-up, glamor photos, “it’s done all the time.” This is Oprah’s magazine, her image and her body, and pictures communicate. Her covers say “This is what I look like, be like me.” If she doesn’t look like her covers or even close, that’s an outright, calculated lie. It’s really as simple as that.





Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture

10 responses to “Who’s That Woman On The Cover of “O” Magazine?

  1. deery

    Those covers are shot easily six months or more in advance. For all we know, she could have gained weight between then and now. She fluctuates quite often.

    But with all that said, where do you draw the unethical line? Surely you can’t expect her to be photographed right out of bed, all gross and bleary-eyed? Is it just the PhotoShop, or would spanx, makeup, and hair combs cross the unethical line as well.

    • Six months? Uh-uh. I’ve participated in magazine shoots. Yes, they are shot in advance. Not six months, or at least they don’t have to be.

      Where would YOU draw the line? Showing herself as a body builder? 20 years old? 6-feet tall? White? A man? I place a higher standard on her because the whole magazine is self-advertizing. Now it’s false advertizing. If she doesn’t look like this months cover, which implicitly represents its image as this months Oprah (whenever the photo was taken), then she can find another shot.

    • Surely you can see the stark difference between photo editing an image and the mechanical / physical means of adding make up or wearing spanx?

      I do know that taking the principle of “altering appearance” to the extreme and ignoring all other values, then you can get away with saying make up is fake up and spanx are a lie. However, personal grooming, reasonable pride, et al, are other values to consider.

      So no, the physical things you do to alter your appearance in the here and now, within reason, are not deception. The things you do to alter a permanent image of you that capture what we *reasonably* assume is reality, is deceptive.

  2. wyogranny

    Are there special ethics for narcissists? I would think by definition a narcissist is unethical.

    • Luke G

      Depends on how it expresses itself. I don’t think you could have an effective politician or lawyer who wasn’t narcissistic to a pretty significant degree.

  3. Ulrike

    What I find really sad about this – Oprah is one of the most successful women in the business. And she got there despite the extra pounds. By now, she must have realized that people like her anyway… Why she then feels the need to airbrush her cover picture to the extreme I do not understand.

  4. Oprah is more photoshopped than a Burger King menu picture! She has never been married and has no children. She has given rise to Oz and McGraw who have had their share of controversy for being less than forthright. Her gaggle of devotees are as predictable as her next “O Cover”
    I lost interest in her and what she has to say years ago.

  5. S

    Oprah preaches that women should be their authentic selves…why doesn’t she practice what she preaches with these month after month fake covers of herself. Makes her appear so insecure! Who can take her seriously, really?

  6. Makippola

    She is a fake from the word go….
    Can ‘t wait for my subscription to expire……

  7. Freet

    Honestly I was appalled by her magazine by its 2nd issue when I counted up the cost of the outfit she wore for the cover and saw the ads inside the magazine all catering to a higher economic group than most, her average viewer could afford. I really felt disconnected to those values in the magazine compared to the Oprah I first came to admire. Her last cover literally has photo-shopped her 30 years younger, wow, but the magazine is right by the cash register so the numbers of sales therefore are making a point, kinda disheartening.

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