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Saturday, April 20

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Remember the infamous 1991 Vanity Fair cover (link might not be safe for work, depending on your company's policy about such things) featuring a nude and heavily pregnant Demi Moore? It seems almost quaint now. As a comparison: Britney Spears just did the same thing for the August 2006 cover of Harper's Bazaar — link NQuiteSFW — with hardly a peep of outrage. People concentrated on her choice of hair color (black) and continued to gossip about her mothering skills or lack thereof rather than vilify her for posing knocked up and nekkid in a magazine.

Guest editor Tom Ford stirred the controversy pot 15 years after Demi Moore's cover photo with the March 2006 issue of Vanity Fair (link probably NSFW either), which features him sniffing a starkers Keira Knightly while an equally bare-assed Scarlett Johannson sprawls full-length, belly down, in front of them. After actress Rachel McAdams refused to participate, a fully clothed Ford jumped into the photograph himself because, as he so helpfully explained, "Three girls in a bed is a bedful of girls, but two girls in a bed are lesbians." Thanks, Tom!

I've noticed another development, however, among Vanity Fair's covers for the past fifteen months. It might not be as obvious or as notorious as the previously mentioned examples, but it seems to be a growing trend. I'm talking about women in white. No, not La Llorona (although many of these actresses do "cry" on the pages of the magazine), but ladies dressed — or undressed — in clothing in various shade of white or off-white. I've created a handy color-coded (ahem) chart to help you remember which outfit or lack of one goes with which true confession.

White dress or skirt: happy in love and/or fulfilled in career and life

  • July 2005: Nicole Kidman. The ex-Mrs. Cruise donned a sleeveless white gown for her most recent VF cover. In the pages, she talked motherhood, work and love — she was dating Keith Urban at the time the article was printed, but she didn't mention him by name. She specifically told the interviewer, "I'm not asking you to portray me in this golden light. I wouldn't expect it." But what about white light, Nic?
  • January 2006: Naomi Watts. Kidman's best bud slinked à la Marilyn Monroe on her cover in a thinly strapped dress (or slip, it could be either) to push her ape movie. Watts gushed about boyfriend Liev Schreiber and disclosed that she remains friends with ex Heath Ledger. She noted, "I feel like I am entering into a stage where this whole journey of struggle had perfect meaning."
  • June 2006: Sandra Bullock. The refreshingly down-to-earth actress cheerfully shared her positive outlook, including how much she loves being a newlywed. She was cheerful on the cover as well, wearing a long sleeved earth-toned shirt with a full white skirt.

White shirt, no pants: unlucky in love and family problems or secrets

  • September 2005: Jennifer Aniston. Vanity Fair's best selling issue ever found Aniston pondering life in her first post-Brad interview. On the cover, she was smiling, her oversized shirt open enough to get a glimpse of breast and a whole lotta leg. The article opened with Aniston bursting into tears, and took her side of the story in excruciating detail. It also touched on her rocky relationship with her mother, although the two are said to be working to end their ten-year estrangement. Yes, Aniston's heart was broken. She could offer a grin or two but couldn't manage to cover her lower half. It's hard to get fully dressed when you're divorcing the Sexiest Man Alive. Believe me, I know.
  • April 2006: Teri Hatcher. This story gained most of its attention, deservedly so, for the revelation that Hatcher's uncle molested her for three years; she came forward in 2002 after one of his alleged victims committed suicide. Hatcher only got the courage to share her secret, however, after being "seduced and abandoned by a world-class Don Juan" (rumored to be George Clooney). In her cover photograph, she wrapped her top tightly around her chest, but it was hiked up far enough to reveal her matching white panties. I'm all for survivors of abuse coming forward and living healthy lives, but couldn't Hatcher have worn something in addition to those underpants?

White pants, no shirt: trashy hotel heiress

  • October 2005: Paris Hilton. The cover headline screamed "WEARING WHITE HER WAY!" Which apparently means without a shirt. The woman famous for being famous wore skintight riding breeches and black boots as she crossed her arms across her chest. Inside, she posed with her former fiancé, whom she dumped while this issue was still on newsstands. Classy.

White bikini: substance abuse, either by self or by soon-to-be-ex-spouse, along with daddy issues

  • February 2006: Lindsay Lohan. Lohan's entire photo shoot for this piece was classic beach bunny glamour, showcased by the two-piece lace swimsuit she wore for the cover. She admitted to bulimia and experimenting with some drugs, but not cocaine. Never, ever cocaine. She also spoke of having a "breakdown" while trying to contact her father in prison. Once the article was published, however, Lohan claimed her words were "misused and misconstructed" to create better buzz. VF stood by its story, saying it had tapes.
  • August 2006: Hilary Swank. The two-time Oscar winner beams from Vanity Fair's current cover clad in a bikini. She dishes about her divorce from Chad Lowe, who has been sober for three years but had trouble with addiction in the past. Swank never names Lowe's specific vice(s), but she admits they were a factor in their breakup. Swank also said she took care of her father and fell into that same history with her husband. However, she certainly looks fabulous!

And isn't that what's most important? Looking good and pure, soft and white, clean and bright, you look happy to meet me. Or something like that. Oh, and to make things even more tasteful, the asterisk at the end of the cover title "Hey, There, Hilary!*" leads to tiny print that slys, "The Hilary you want to see in a bikini!"

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About the Author(s)

As a child, Dee Stiffler was only allowed to watch one hour of television a day. She usually chose Sesame Street. Today, she overcompensates by knowing far too much about the WB's lineup as well as pop culture in general. Email her at pop@gapersblock.com.

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