Hands up if you’re tired of seeing the Jessicas (Simpson, Alba and Biel) on the covers of magazines that are supposedly meant for South African women.
Hands up if cover stars such as Amanda DuPont (who is killing it on the cover of the latest Grazia), Pearl Thusi, Bonang Matheba, Omuhle Gela and Thuli Pongolo do more to inspire you to actually go out and buy these magazines…
Despite their continued success, international cover stars are of little to no relevance to South Africans anymore. Especially when the cover is a regurgitation of an international cover that first appeared in the US months before.
As much as we love Rihanna, what more can you tell us about her that the Americans haven’t already told us? I’d be more interested in the feature if she flew down here and did a shoot at a South African location, shot by anyone of our exceptional local photographers and crews.
Just look at True Love’s July/August issue featuring the ‘leaders of the new school,’ actresses Thuli Phongolo, Omuhle Gela and Buhle Samuels. The composition of the cover image was nothing to write home about but the feature felt like a breath of fresh air among the stuffy stench of ‘same old, same old.’
And I’m sure the boys will agree that while Idris Elba is #goals, one can grow tired of trying to see just how many ways and re-tell his life story under the guise of some or other lesson while being styled in yet another array of GQ selections.
Seeing different faces depicted in unconventional ways have proven successful in other countries so why don’t we also move with the times? Softer depictions of modern-day male music icons such as Future on the cover of Rolling Stone and Rae Sremmurd on the cover of Fader have performed well.
The audience is craving new visuals, fresher narratives and a more localized focus, but despite the calls to #OpenUpTheIndustry, mainstream media seems to be taking their time to step up to the plate. In light of Amanda’s Grazia cover (on the eve of the launch of her shoe line), I list the local faces I’d like to see on some of SA’s magazine covers.
1. Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes
Love him, hate him or disregard him, we all have an opinion on AKA and his success cannot be ignored. From struggling hip-hop artist to BET nominee and YOU Spectacular 2016 Best Dressed Male winner (without a stylist nogal), AKA is a treasure trove of content for local publications. His apparent disdain for the media may prove to be an obstacle in the effort to lock him down for a cover story but I strongly believe the circulation numbers of that issue would be worth it.
She doesn’t get as much coverage as I’d like for a rapper of her calibre but I definitely believe she could hold her own in a cover shoot. There are certainly enough covers to go around. What needs to happen before someone reaches out to her?
3. Abdul and SK Khoza
I recently noticed that they managed to get a little feature on the Drum website but the brother’s would murk (slang for ‘kill’) a GQ style feature in a much larger publication. SK is currently making waves as Shaka on Mzansi Magic’s new telnovela, The Queen and Abdul is just starting out as Qaphela on Isibaya. Beyond that, the Khoza brothers definitely have an interesting story to tell, and they photograph so well!
4. Linda Mtoba
Another newbie who I’d love to do a full length feature on complete with a summer shoot styled by someone like Boogy Maboi. Linda could also do a Maxim style shoot and produce some of the hottest photos you’ve ever seen.
The Young Skhanda queen is another treasure trove of content – more photographic than verbal though. Styled a million different ways, I have faith that Moozlie would bring it every single time.
Tebogo ‘ProVerb’ Thekiso has recently gone through the most and has seemingly come out on top. He also appeals to a particular and loyal audience and has proven consistent in both music and television – there’s a story waiting to be unearthed.
Mr. Cashtime is another artist who makes waves and receives quite a lot of coverage and buzz but where are the cover stories and the shoots? C’mon guys! He gets a whole doccie about his trip to SxSW but no cover?
8. Vuyo Dabula
For a man who won the 2016 Sowetan Sexiest title and makes the nation swoon collectively, I am surprised that there haven’t been a slew of features about the man floating around. Just get him to pose shirtless – the way Sowetan did – promise an exclusive and watch the copies practically sell themselves.
Feature length cover articles accompanied by hotshots are a laborious exercise, I know. But, it provides work for countless people and hopefully sells magazines for the media houses in question. It provides the artists with the press coverage they need and it feeds the insatiable curiosity of readers and fans alike.
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