Cover Girl: Queen Latifah for Essence Magazine

Posted on December 08, 2011

We were cycling through a bunch of January cover girls, and to a woman, they all had that “YAY! It’s the NEW YEAR and RESOLUTIONS ARE FUN!” open-mouthed grin. Queen Latifah was the only one who made it work.

Queen Latifah for Essence MagazineQueen Latifah covers the January 2012 issue of Essence magazine.

If girlfriend is pulling off a jumpsuit on the cover of a magazine, then our respect just shot through the roof. Not crazy about the belt, but we love the way the top is shaped.


[Photo Credit:]

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  • Kalisa Hyman

    I love how they made her hair defy gravity. 

  • Belle Burnett

    I dunno, it’s a great photo and yet…her face looks kind of not like her face, you know? Like maybe they tried to slim it just a tad?

    • Anonymous

      I think they slimmed a whole lot more than her face — and unnecessarily, I might add. She’s pretty fabulous just the way she is.

    • Anonymous

      Essence has a reputation for Photoshopping the hell out of their cover models. It’s very annoying. I agree with you that the image looks like a Queen Latifah wax figure.

    • Sarah Veenstra

      It looks SO plastic to me. Literally, plastic. She looks like a hybrid of herself and a long lost Jackson sibling. HUGE turn-off.

      • Anonymous

        Look at her arms! It’s crazy.

      • Anonymous

        it’s like her eyes have no life in them…. it’s freaky…

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s just the facial expression she’s making. When I do a goofy face like that my face looks much slimmer (and curiously I lose my double chin). QL has had an on again / off again relationship with weight loss and the last time I saw her  she looked about this size. But I’ve been known to be wrong before, so we shall see.

    • Mich

      to me, it’s the eyes. kind of looks like the pupils aren’t looking in the same direction?

  • Erin Leahy

    Queen Latifah is my spirit animal.

    • Ebony Dawkins

      Girl, I just laughed until I cried at this!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, above the belt the soft folds are pretty & flattering, but I just have to suspect the whole cover shot of looking little like Queen Latifah.

    I love her public persona to death and respect her as a serious professional, but I’ve seen a more realistic-looking face on a corpse at a wake. And I mean that sincerely and literally.  If they made her face so plastic and unnatural looking, I’ve gotta suspect what they did with her silhouette.

  • BerlinerNYC

    She looks pretty-pretty, and I like the outfit, hair, makeup, everything, but am I the only one disconcerted by her gaze? She’s clearly focusing on something beyond and next to the camera, yet not dramatically off-camera. It’s not a gaffe of Bachmannian proportions, but it still keeps me from connecting with it as a viewer.

    • Catherine Katz

      Bachmannian proportions.  Must stop giggling…

    • Jennifer Kellum

      Agreed. I keep wanting to look over my shoulder.

  • Kathrine Marlow

    It really looks great on her, I don’t like the open mouth smile, but love her!

  • Sobaika Mirza

    I’m going to sound like a broken record but even still, people need to QUIT it with the Photoshop. Her face is airbrushed to the point of looking like a deranged mannequin, and she doesn’t need it all that digitizing.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed.  Also, I feel like her ELBOWS are now different sizes.

    • Anonymous

      Amen, sister. I can’t understand why fashion editors do this. They take all the personality out of the face and make them look alien.

    • Anonymous

      That’s a record I hope someone listens to, because I agree, and think she’s lovely as is. She doesn’t look too slimmed down, though, her body shape looks pretty normal. It’s just from the neck up that things get a bit Madame Tussaud.

    • Anonymous

      She is SO gorgeous and her skin is amazing, so I don’t understand why they do that. (Yes, I have a ginormous crush on her.)

      • Sobaika Mirza

        Exactly! Magazines can be sizist all they want, but no one can argue her beauty. Her face didn’t have to be made into a laquered up cardboard cutout.

  • Anonymous

    Definitely over-Photoshopped … but even that can’t hide the fabulous.

  • Jasmine Moten

    I don’t get why people photoshop the life out of the models/actresses/whatever. I like to see real people. You know, actual skin!

  • Anonymous

    “Tlo said: If girlfriend is pulling off a jumpsuit on the cover of a magazine, then our respect just shot through the roof.”

    Somewhere Qristal is feeling vindicated.

    Of course, they cropped the crotch out of the picture though.


  • Valerie Little

    She’s so lovely. It’s really disappointing that they made her look this artificial.

  • Anonymous

    Holy photoshop, Batman!

  • Rocío Vázquez

    Her face looks like it’s CGI, too much airbrush!

  • sepi

    Nice arrowhead nose!

  • Anonymous

    They photoshopped the Latifah outta that pic! And yup, her arms are two completely different sizes.

  • Anonymous

    Love her.

  • scottyf

    Don’t know why they decided to use the Madame Tussaud’s version of the Queen, instead of the very beautiful real thing, but…GOD BLESS YOU BOTH for featuring an Essence Magazine cover. Seriously, God bless you.

    • Anonymous

      That is rather waxy, isn’t it? But I think she’s gorgeous. Love huh.

    • Paula Berman

      Why did they give her crazy eyes?!?

  • Anonymous

    I love her.

  • Anonymous

    I want to be her when I grow up, despite the fact that she is actually younger than I am and it will require a great deal of spray tan on my part.

    Really though – love this woman.  And ditto to Scotty on the kudos for picking up a copy of Essence.  I love the idea that gorgeous isn’t limited to the approved images by the editors of 4 self-annointed magazines.

    • MilaXX

      Somedays I think if it wasn’t for Ebony and Essence I’d start to think featuring an African American celeb on a magazine was some sort of myth like the white unicorn.

    • Anonymous

      “I want to be her when I grow up, despite the fact that she is actually younger than I am and it will require a great deal of spray tan on my part.”
      YES!  I remember when she was just a young thing on the scene. Years & years ago a friend was some sort of lowly production minion on a shoot she was in (video? local commercial? short film? No clue anymore) being done at night in a rainy alley in New York in about 40 degree weather. We country cousins lurked nearby watching & she was both all focused on the work and full of good natured energy while a lot of the cast & crew were just emoting miserable endurance.

      Based on nothing more than this and a handful of interviews I am eternally convinced that (unlike Ms. Jenny from the Block) she’s still a real, grounded person, not just a driven celebrity who lives in a bubble.

      Just goes to show, our mommas were right, first impressions are important!


      • Anonymous

        When I worked on the copy desk at Slate, we used to amuse ourselves by weighing in on celebs and the pics we found reviewing articles. There were always differing opinions on everyone, but when someone posted the Queen, all of us dogpiled on with “Mamacita!” and “Love her!”s and the like — some of us were gay, some straight, but all of us were besotted.

  • Erin Nice

    Queen Latifah is so gorgeous – she definitely doesn’t need the photoshopping, but I’m always just happy to see her regardless.

  • Anonymous

    I love Queen Latifah! And she looks gorgeous here (as always).

  • Anonymous

    She looks like Oprah in this picture.  I never noticed that before.

  • Anonymous

    She looks like Oprah in this picture.  I never noticed that before.

  • Anonymous

    I love the top of that jumpsuit. I would buy a dress with that top. Can I buy a dress with that top? Anyone know who designed it?

  • Anonymous

    Bow the fuck down (always my reaction to the Queen).

  • Mari Rose

    So I’m in line at the grocery store yesterday, when I heard a girl behind me exclaim, “Ooh, the Kardashians!” while grabbing a copy of Glamour. I turned around to see a girl no more than 12 show the cover to her friend. I saw a teachable moment and grabbed a nearby copy of Esquire with Mark Kelly on the cover, show it to the girl and ask her if she knows who this is. She shakes her head and I proceed to tell her that this man is an astronaut who has flown all around the planet and done all kinds of really cool science-y type things that will help mankind. I then pulled out a copy of the January 2012 Essence magazine and informed her that the beautiful woman on the cover is a super-talented singer/rapper/actress/producer/model who has won many awards and was even nominated for an Oscar. Accomplishments the Kardashians never have or ever will achieve. “Which of these people would you really like to read about?” I asked. She grabbed the copy of Essence from my hand and put the Glamour back.

    What I’m saying to you all in a very roundabout way is … All Hail The Queen!

    • Buffy

      If that was my daughter I would kiss your feet.

    • Anonymous

       I love you so much for this.

    • theneva

      All hail Mari Rose! You seriously did a public service. They should have you doing PSAs.

    • Anonymous

      Kudos to you!  Way to step up, Mari Rose!

    • Anonymous

      YES! You rule, Ms. Mari Rose! I am continually tempted to step in & help raise other people’s children (hey, I screwed up mine, why not share?) but I can’t say I’ve ever experienced such a gratifying moment. Good for you.

    • Mari Rose

      Don’t thank me. Thank Queen Latifah. She did all the heavy lifting.

  • Anonymous

    She looks very pretty and I adore her but whoever photoshopped her face should be fired. She’s even prettier in movies and on stage. Much prettier.  Love the hair. 

  • Mary McClelland

    I wonder if that’s a Qrystal (sp) Frasier Jumpsuit?

  • Anonymous

    Does she look like she’s looking at the wrong camera, or is it just me? Maybe it’s having a reverse-Mona-Lisa effect on me…

  • LaSherra Green

    That is airbrushed to hell. Yuck!

  • Anonymous

    her left arm is ridiculous…so is the flipping pony tail.

    that’s a great color on her and I like the way the top drapes on her, but as for the fit of the jumpsuit…would have to see how it fits in the butt and crotch.  the usual places jumpsuits fail.

  • Presumptuous Insect

    I just love Latifah. Love her.  But she does look airbrushed unto alienville here.

  • Emily

    Love her!

  • Terence Ng

    Who knew that you could use one of Madame Tussaud’s statues to shoot covers,

  • Anonymous

    She’s been photoshopped like WHOA. Alas, that is par for the course no matter what a woman looks like.

    I love Queen Latifah with a mad fangirl squee. She’s had crazy success in at least three different fields that don’t look kindly on any combination of female, black, and overweight (music, TV/movies, modeling), and continues rocking even as she’s cruising into the 4th hurdle of middle age.

    LOVE. HER.

  • MilaXX

    I think she looks great. That’s a nice color on her & kudos to Essence for not doing a face shot of someone who dares to be over a size 6

  • Anonymous

    OMG some VERY bizarre photoshopping in the eye/nose area.  She’s beautiful just as she is—but they’ve made her look plastic.

  • Advaita Waikar

    She looks good. But that is way too much airbrushing.

  • Anonymous

    That does not work.

  • Anonymous

    Love her but not like this. Odd pose and face.

  • Anonymous

    Girl looks fabulishious……amazing how she has transformed over the years from gangsta chick to glam!

  • Anonymous

    LOVE the Queen!  Love the joyful pose and facial expression–like, “Here I am world–and aren’t I something?”

    The photoshopping/airbrushing has to stop.   Not only did it eliminate “flaws” needlessly and create that plasticized effect, but it ressulted in the majority of comments being about that, instead of about this beautiful woman.

  • M Carlson

    She is fabulous. End of story.

  • Ginger

    I have loved her ever since the movie “Chicago”.  She stole that movie, in my opinion.  Not only that, but she’s real and beautiful and seems very down-to-earth and self-aware. 

  • Amanda

    Too much Photoshop for my taste…she looks fake here.

  • Cathy S

    She’s so gorgeous.

  • Anonymous

    LOVE her!  I have long said if I had to die and come back as a woman I would hope & pray it would be Ms. Dana Owens.  But with better movie role selecting abilities……

    • Anonymous

      It’s okay.  She makes shitty movies work.

  • Judy S

    Love her, she is tougher than airbrushing! thanks for sharing this one.

  • Brad and Anne White


  • Anonymous

    I feel like the photoshopper gave her a little bit of dead-eye here.  Which is so different from her normal vivaciousness.  This looks a little forced.

    But I do think she’s rocking the jumpsuit.

  • Anonymous

    I saw her in person in sweats and she has FLAWLESS skin.  She doesn’t need photoshopping, she is beautiful as isl.  

    • Anonymous

      That makes me so happy.

  • Anonymous

    I bow to the queen.