BY MIA FREEDMAN
Well, how about this. I don’t buy magazines very often anymore but I proudly handed over my $6.95 at the convenience store today so I could support the Australia Women’s Weekly’s decision to put the divine Chrissie Swan on the cover.
I love the image. Love her newest little man Kit and love the images and feature inside, written by Jordan Baker. I called Helen McCabe this morning to find out the story behind the cover and this is what she told me:
“I was sitting on The Today Show set just after the Logies about to do my regular segment with Karl and he asked me how things were going and I told him I needed a cover for the next issue. I’m always looking for a cover. He said “You have to shoot Chrissie Swan” and I thought ‘Of course I do! Why haven’t I shot her already?’ and I went straight into the office and made it happen.”
Getting clothes for the shoot proved to be difficult, according to Helen. Chrissie is a size 22 and nobody wanted to lend clothes. This comes as no surprise to me. The hardest part about shooting women larger than the ‘standard’ size 8 when I worked in magazines was securing clothes. Even the designers who make larger sizes don’t want their brands associated with anyone bigger than a size 8. Size 10 max. So even when you shoot women or models who are size 12, it’s a struggle. How insulting is that.
In the end, Helen told me, they went with a small online company for the dresses Chrissie is wearing. It came from a small online business based in Sydney called Style & Substance (you can buy Chrissie’s dresses and a bunch of other things here)
As for the inevitable re-touching question, Helen says it’s ‘minimal’ and in no way has Chrissie’s body or body shape been changed. “What would be the point of that?” she asked. “She’s a size 22 and she looks amazing. More than that though, she is amazing. As Gretel Killeen says in the profile, Chrissie is the kind of girl we all want as a friend.”
If you like the cover and you want to support a more diverse portrayal of women in the media, think about buying this issue. So that next time some fashion person says “women only want to look at skinny women” you can say bollocks and the circulation figures will speak for themselves.
*No, this is not a sponsored post. I am frequently critical of magazines and the way they portray women in particular. So when an editor does something positive in regards to diversity and the positive portrayal of women, I think it’s just as important to applaud it. And pre-emptively, for those who are going to bang on about weight and health, I want to point out that Chrissie is on the cover of AWW because of who she is and what she does and how she resonates with women. Not BECAUSE of the way she looks. Physical appearance and the very narrow (literally) margins within which the mainstream media insist women exist is not a good thing for women. Diversity is.
There’s plenty more gorgeous shots in the hard copy of the Weekly, too. Go Chrissie.
And, just because we love her to bits, here’s more of the delightful Chrissie Swan:
Chrissie first shot to fame in the 2003 series of Big Brother Australia.