Pregnancy hasn’t looked this good since a buck naked Demi Moore showed off her baby bump on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine seventeen years ago. Sexy. Powerful. In your face.
Like it or not, you have to admit it’s hard to take your eyes off the latest cover of Pregnancy magazine. Perhaps that’s because there’s much more to the photo than meets the eye. November 2008 cover girl Melora Hardin looks pregnant, but she isn’t. Take a closer look—that’s padding cleverly hidden under the belly wrap. Melora isn’t expecting a baby, but her character Jan Levenson on the cheeky hit NBC sitcom The Office is. Since the actress was more than willing to ham it up for the camera, the magazine decided to use the beautiful funny girl to their advantage. The result? A tongue-in-cheek cover that celebrates the joys of all moms-to-be.
Pregnancy editor-in-chief Abigail Tuller is betting that today’s woman get the joke. “After all it’s important to have a sense of humor about pregnancy and parenthood. If you don’t, you’re screwed.” Ain’t that the truth. Back in 1991, a pregnant Demi Moore in her birthday suit didn’t exactly put a smile on everyone’s face. A lot of folks were outraged. The photo caused such a stir some readers boycotted the magazine, many stores covered the issue up in a paper bag, and other merchants pulled the magazine from the shelf. Thankfully, times have changed. While the sight of a new mom or mom-to-be in all her glory still makes some people uncomfortable, most of us are cheering them on. In just the past few months: a pregnant Christina Aguilera was on display in Marie Claire (January ’08), Lisa Marie Presley posed for the same magazine (September ’08) while pregnant with twins, and a breastfeeding Angelina Jolie is on W’s (November ’08) cover.
Melora initially volunteered to recreate the eye-popping Demi Moore cover, but the staffers at Pregnancy magazine knew it would be too difficult to fake such a photo. Moore was nude and seven months along at the time. Instead, Melora struck a pose first made famous by Janet Jackson on the 1993 Rolling Stone cover. Janet wasn’t pregnant but she was very topless. Even though a man’s hands covered most of her breasts, the photo to this day is considered by many to be notorious. Yep, Janet and her breasts made headlines long before Justin Timberlake ripped off part of her bustier during their halftime performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
In case you’re wondering, Melora’s chest is covered up—not by Janet Jackson’s husband—but by a lucky male magazine staffer. Talk about a job perk. So was it worth faking the photo? Tuller thinks so. “There’s no doubt this cover will raise some eyebrows, but sometimes you’ve got to stir things up a bit. Pregnancy can be a real blow to a woman’s sense of self and her ego. We like to boost up that ego whenever we can. On this cover our aim was to celebrate both the sexiness and silliness of being pregnant and remind our reader not to take her ‘condition’ too seriously.”