What first pops into your head when you think of Maxim magazine? Women in bikinis? Women in bras? Women baring “underboobs”? Side boob? Center boob? ALL boob?
If so (and it most likely is so), get ready to change your perception: The cover star of Maxim’s September 2015 issue is not only wearing a full-coverage top, but it’s … a man!
Idris Elba — full-time actor and part-time rapper —is officially the first-ever dude to cover Maxim U.S. without the presence of a woman. Who knew that (in this case, anyway) the fastest way to feminism was actually the absence of a female, altogether?
Over the past several months, Maxim has undergone a major makeover under the strict guidance of new editor-in-chief Kate Lanphear (formerly the style director of T: The New York Times Style Magazine), who has taken the “lad mag” from trashy to fash-y. Gone are the sleazy, objectification-filled photos of women cupping their bare breasts, replaced with gorgeous, tightly cropped, classy portraits of Taylor Swift, Lily Aldridge, and Candice Swanepoel — as well as this awesome upside-down one of pop star Charli XCX from May.
But choosing stud muffin Elba — especially for the all-important September issue — is an even bigger departure from Maxim’s old ways. “It just makes sense to have a man in fashion on the cover,” Lanphear told Racked.
“For me, [Elba] was really the perfect embodiment of what I think the new Maxim man is,” she explained. “He’s multidimensional, he’s complex, he’s sophisticated, but he’s down to earth. It was funny when on set, I was like, ‘Is there anything this guy can’t do?’ He’s an award-winning actor, he’s a DJ, his capsule clothing line for Superdry is about to hit stores. The guy broke the [British] land speed record, which hasn’t been touched since like 1928. He’s sort of a living, breathing superhero.”
Whether Elba will prove a superhero on the newsstand is another story, but Lanphear seems confident in her pick. Ad pages are up higher than ever (143 percent more than last year), and according to the Elba, just under 70 percent of Maxim readers polled said they preferred the glossy’s new fashion-forward, sophisticated look.
With those kinds of numbers, it’s impossible to deny that Maxim’s on to something good.