No more girly goo. No more teeny bopper covers. And no more phony – and hypocritical – stories by celebrities.
That's the edict of British journalist Joanna Coles, the new editor of the US version of Marie Claire.
It's the result of the hundreds of letters from readers that landed on her desk after the magazine, in its July issue, ran a cover story about Ashlee Simpson, the actress-singer, in which she extolled the virtues of appreciating one's body as it is. Then it was revealed she was having a nose job.
The readers expressed fury at being taken in. Coles, who formerly worked for The Times and The Guardian, agreed. She not only ran the letters in the August issue, the first over which she had editorial control – but said like the readers she was confused and disappointed. Not only is it rare for an editor to publicly criticize a celebrity, but she added that it was time things changed. Hence no more girly-goo.
Marie Claire, she said in an interview with the New York Times, has always been a smart girls' book.
But it has begun to drift – largely due to the proliferation on the newsstands of the celebrity weeklies. It has happened to everyone, not just Marie Claire, she added.
Although the magazine's paid circulation over the last six months is up 3 per cent, to just under one million, its newsstand sales have been flat. An indication, she said, that the magazine is not winning over impulse buyers.
Coles, who joined Marie Claire from More magazine where she was executive editor, said one of her objectives is to appeal to "confident, professional women".
For example, she said, a growing number of women today are earning more than their husbands and she wants the new Marie Claire to be where women can discuss such topics.
It could, she conceded, be risky, especially for a magazine that in the past women have turned to mostly for fashion and beauty. Nevertheless in the cover of the September issue the magazine will feature Maggie Gyllenhaal, an off-beat actress, and not a very typical cover girl.