In a world where Kate Middleton is heavily scrutinized for not disguising her still-present bump just one day after giving birth and Victoria's Secret Angels are runway-ready a mind-blowing seven weeks post-pregnancy, it's almost unheard of for an actress to cover a glossy before she's back at her pre-pregnancy weight.
Which is precisely why Redbook's September issue starring Kristen Bell and hitting newsstands today, is unlike anything else you'll see this month. The actress proudly says she's about 15 pounds from her pre-baby weight in the cover image--and she doesn't plan on losing it anytime soon.
"I refused to worry about something I could not change, and I still refuse," Bell tells Redbook of her remaining baby weight. "I am not a woman whose self-worth comes from her dress size."
It's this attitude that caught the attention of Redbook editor in chief Jill Herzig. Herzig has wanted Bell on her cover for a long time, citing her gorgeous girl-next-door looks and adorable personality ("Her sloth obsession is the funniest thing ever," she also tells me over email).
So when Bell announced her latest movie, The Lifeguard, Herzig set the actress for their August cover. But when Bell gave birth a few weeks late, Herzig worried that the timing had gone wrong. Since she didn't want to interrupt Bell's time with newborn Lincoln, or put pressure on Bell to lose that pregnancy weight too quickly, she pushed the cover to September.
"That's something so many celebrities enter into--the post-baby weight loss derby," she explains. "Every time a magazine features a new mom in a bikini, highlighting how fast she lost the weight, I cringe a little"
Part of that consideration comes from Herzig's own experiences as a mother, saying she found having a newborn "hugely challenging."
"I can't imagine how I would have felt if, added to the sleeplessness and anxiety, I'd been under ridiculous pressure to drop weight for a big, public 'reveal,'" she adds. "Ugh--awful. I didn't want Kristen to feel any of that."
And according to Herzig, this is just part of Redbook's overall philosophy about using all kinds of body types on their pages. "Many of our beauty stories feature plus size models, who are often a bit glowier and less hollow-cheeked than their straight-size counterparts," she adds. "We use regular women from all over the country in our fashion and beauty pages, calling out style bloggers of every size, working every look," adding that "readers are loving it."
It's not perfect--there are at least three headlines calling out weight loss of some kind--but it's a great first step. For her part, Herzig is thrilled with the cover. "[Bell] told us she's about 15 pounds over her pre-pregnancy weight, and in my opinion, she doesn't need to lose another ounce," she says.
"We're showing the world how great a new mom can look, not how skinny she can get."
Redbook's September issue starring Kristen Bell hits newsstands today.