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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Charla Lawhon

Aired September 5, 2003 - 20:55   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Supermodels like Giselle, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss may end up going the way of the dinosaur. I guess you could call them betasaurus (ph) rex. Well, they're facing extinction on the covers of the biggest fashion mags in the biz, replaced by just celebrities. Well, check out the new issue of "In Style" with actress Selma Hayek as its latest cover girl. I'm joined now from New York by managing editor of "In Style" magazine, Charla Lawhon. Good to have you with us.
CHARLA LAWHON, MANAGING EDITOR, "IN STYLE": Thanks, Miles, good to be here.

O'BRIEN: All right, Charla, what is going on here? Celebrities are -- sell more magazines?

LAWHON: Yes, but the celebrities have been sort of taking over the covers of magazines for a number of years now. The proof is there. They actually do very well for magazines. They sell.

O'BRIEN: All right, let's talk about some absolute money in the bank celebrities to put on the cover. Who are big?

LAWHON: Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon. Those all do very well. And depending upon what projects they have out there, they could do better and better each time.

O'BRIEN: Look at Jennifer Aniston there in "In Style" at the top of the board there, sales in excess of a million copies. How do you explain that?

LAWHON: I think what it is is that the readers, the people who are buying the magazine, they want to know about this person. They are inspired by her. They admire her. And they just want to know about her, how she lives, what she wears, where she likes to go. And so that interest really helps lift magazine sales.

O'BRIEN: So what about those poor, poor supermodels? They shouldn't be missing any meals. We're worried about that already, right?

LAWHON: Well, no, no, they're horribly poor. There is still a great deal of interest in the supermodels. The fashion houses need them to wear their clothes, both on the runway and in real life. We want to read about where they go, the parties that they're attending. And so many of them are now spokesmodels, spokespersons for fragrances and fashion houses, Lia (ph), for instance, Carmen Cast (ph), two big names out there.

O'BRIEN: Well, let me ask you this, how much of this is initiated by the magazine editors, decisions made by them, and how much of this is the celebrities kind of getting savvy to using magazines to offer up image changes, that kind of thing?

LAWHON: There is definitely a symbiotic relationship here. And I think -- I don't know about other magazines, how they deal with this, but it is a 50/50 combination. Sometimes we will make the call to ask, say, Julia Roberts to be on the cover. And sometimes we will get the call from that celebrity's representative asking what is available and talking in terms of timing, what would work best for them and what would work for us.

O'BRIEN: Now, I guess if you had to come up with a hall of fame for celebrity who have graced covers, Princess Diana would have to be in at the top of the list or close to it, anyhow. Is there anybody these days who carries that much weight?

LAWHON: Diana -- Princess Diana was -- she was unto herself and I think it was at that point in history, that point in time, where she was it in terms of covers. These days, it's not a slam dunk like that.

O'BRIEN: So nothing on the horizon either?

LAWHON: Not that I know of. Not yet.

O'BRIEN: What about the notion of supermodels becoming celebrities onto themselves and thus being able to fit into this mold you're talking about here?

LAWHON: Yes, there are certain big names. I mean, Cindy Crawford, who when she was...

O'BRIEN: She kind of transcends supermodeldom into being a celebrity in her own right, right?

LAWHON: Absolutely. And there are a number of those women. Kate Moss certainly is headed in that direction. Linda Evangelista. And there are new ones coming up all the time.

O'BRIEN: Charla Lawhon, thank you very much, for joining us this evening. Managing editor of "In Style" magazine, we appreciate it.

LAWHON: Thank you.

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