Cover Girl: Zooey Deschanel for InStyle

Posted on March 12, 2013

We stared at this pic for a little while, trying to figure out why this is suddenly our favorite picture of Zooey Deschanel. Granted, we don’t think there ever was an entry in the “Favorite Picture of Zooey Deschanel” column for us, but this one unexpectedly filled the slot.

Zooey Deschanel covers the April 2013 issue of InStyle magazine photographed by Giampaolo Sgura in a Carolina Herrera dress.

And we think the reason is this: That’s a grownup dress for a grownup woman. More importantly, that’s a grownup woman’s head and face. She looks relaxed, confident and knowing, instead of her normal thousand-yard stare and tilted “confused puppy” head. The hair is relaxed and sexy, without tipping over into cartoon-character cuteness, and the makeup is fresh. Basically, it comes down to not looking like an anime character and looking like a real, breathing, grownup woman with a thought or two in her head.

Carolina Herrera Pre-Fall 2013 Collection

And it’s funny, because this dress, with its giant bow, could have easily gone the cartoon route if she’d been styled in a more, well, Zooey kinda style. See, Zooey? You can wear cute, girly things with a little bit of whimsy to them AND look like you can write a check and open a door by yourself!


[Photo Credit: Giampaolo Sgura for InStyle via,]

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  • decormaven

    But I bet she’s got on tights with this dress! Thankfully, we’re not exposed to them.

    • schadenfreudelicious

      exactly, i was about to say it’s a favorite pic because we can’t see the black tights!

    • LuisaNL

      my first thought, too! that dress is gorge, tho.

      • Rhonda Shore

        i had the same exact thought!!!  But i confess to being a black tights person (except in summer, of course).

  • VioletFem

    Love this look for her. I hope she took notes during this photo session for her next red carpet outing.

  • Pablo Ulloa

    nothing more to say… totally agree

  • ChiliP

    This is indeed a very nice picture of Zooey, and her hair looks great. The thing is, it doesn’t really look like Zooey…I can’t quite put my finger on why. She looks like a amalgam of Courtney Cox and Emily Blunt.

    • Heather

       I agree. She has a very round face, and they seem to have Photoshopped a pointier (is that a word?) chin onto her.

      • ballerinawithagun

        Her weight fluctuations really change her face. In the movie she did with Jim Carrey, she was extremely thin and her face was very pointy.

    • Courtenay P

      agree – pretty but doesn’t look like her at all.

    • Sobaika

      Notices that too, there’s been some retouching to her nose/face. But from a style point of view I really like this cover for Zooey.

    • Snoskred

      I was just about to say the exact same thing. Those are Zoe’s eyes, but Courtney Cox from the cheeks down. :(

    • alyce1213

      Too much photoshopping.

      • 1964edithgrove


    • tereliz

      She looks a little like her sister with a longer face and long hair, I think. 

    • Aidan B

      I think she looks like Kristen Wiig in this picture! Something about her mouth and cheekbones.

  • aeb1986

    Probably because shes not wearing tights or some odd ear muffs. Mostly because she doesn’t appear to be trying so hard for once

    • RebeccaKW

       She doesn’t have those obviously fake gigantic eyelashes on either.  I mean, I love a good fake eyelash, but the ones she wears are costume-y.

  • foodycatAlicia

    Do you think they had to photoshop it to get her head up straight? I do love this look though.

    • Anathema_Device

       I think that’s why she’s leaning. To give the illusion that her head is not cocked.

  • antheapena

    New stylist? Great photographer? What a difference. Hope sjhe likes it

  • EMV

    She looks like Maggie Siff (Tara from Sons of Anarchy) in this picture.

  • Annabelle Archer

    New Girl is a favorite show of mine.  It pains me a little when I see Zooey doing her usual shtick, so this cover makes me happy.  It’s not mind blowing or even all that special but she looks lovely.  

  • christinewithanx

    Well, we can’t see her legs, so she may be wearing black tights… But, yes, basically she doesn’t look like a crazed rubber duckie or some sort of russian clown.

  • Janet B

    She looks so relaxed and natural, as if this photo was taken when she hadn’t put on her “Zooey Face” yet.

  • Anathema_Device

    I read your first paragraph and said, “Because she looks like a grown up!” Then I read your second paragraph. Hee. Great minds and all that.

    I usually don’t care for InStyle covers. The art directors/photoshop monkeys usually flatten the cover subjects’ features beyond recognition. So, not only is this one of the better pics of Zooey, it is one of the better InStyle covers.

    Also, I really like her hair color here.

    • SassieCassy

      i hate their covers too

    • guest2visits

      Yay; good to know I’m not the only one who thinks InStyle does disservice to the celebs that appear on the cover.
      I think it’s as bad for the editorials inside, too. Usually washed out, or dark, unfocused.. weak sets or backgrounds; great clothes
      made boring and nondescript. Or not so great clothes that don’t flatter the wearer at all.
      I can tell what magazine I’m looking at just by the celebrity shots. Yes Zooey is very pretty here; but why is she leaning on
      a big stack of AIR.

  • Indigo54


  • Judy_J

    She does look good in this photo….her hair doesn’t look as heavy as it usually does.

  • marlie

    It’s a grownup dress on a grownup woman that isn’t ruined by out-of-place opaque tights. Probably the best I’ve seen her look in forever. 

    ETA: I’d kill for the shoes that the model is wearing.

    • kimmeister

      Those shoes are amazing.

  • ccinnc

    I suppose she’s leaning up against a white table but it weirdly makes it appear that her bustline has been ‘shopped out.

  • Amy Winn

    They also eased up on the false eyelashes, which reduced the little-girl/anime proportions her eyes usually have. And agreed that she now has a stronger resemblance to Courteney Cox… they could play sisters in something, which I think would be an interesting and believeable pairing. They both have an intelligent nervous energy, and could easily portray complementary personality traits.

    • RebeccaKW

       I said the same thing.  Those over-the-top eyelashes are gone.  Should’ve scrolled down.

  • nannypoo

    I did not know she’s the It Girl. If that’s true then she will have lots of opportunities to practice looking like this.

  • Monday1900

    For once she’s not trying to channel Betty Boop, thank god!  Adore that dress–Carolina is really knocking it out of the park this season.

  • Indigo54

    Look at the position of the model’s legs.  Makes my ankles hurt. 

  • Depot'er

    had you not put her name on this, I would not have thought it was her….bad photoshop or something…but does not look like her. sigh.

    • EverybodysStarling

      Yes. She was photoshopped into another bland brunette. It’s a pity. 

  • BrooklynBomber

    It’s a nice picture. You description is right on the money. And it’s why it hardly looks like her.

  • MilaXX

    For me it’s the hair & makeup. The hair is such an improvement I don’t even hate her bangs for a change. Definitely a more grown up less cartoon-y look. Well done to the team that did this.

  • kimmeister

    Zooey, this is what your eye makeup should look like.  Do this all the time.

  • tereliz

    LOL, I was going to say she looks so good because we can tell she knows how to balance her checkbook. It’s a great color on her, too, and her hair looks better when its not so heavy.

  • shawnhunter

    I like the fact that she wears cute, girly things and has always proven that she’s a highly competent businessperson. She completely debunks the stereotype. I think the best thing she ever said was, “We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f–king feminist and wear a f–king Peter Pan collar. So f–king what?” I like this look on her a lot and it does seem different from her usual style, but I don’t think it says anything about how competent she is (or isn’t). She is part of a music duo that has put out successful albums, she has a profitable website that empowers young girls, she’s about to launch a production company, AND, top it all off, she’s the lead in a show that she partially owns. That speaks for itself.

    • Tom and Lorenzo

       Calm down, fangurl. We make no claims as to her competence; just the image she likes to project.

      • ellekatwood

        It’s one thing to talk about an image, but what you seem to be calling an image here is the fact that she acts extremely feminine and doll-like sometimes (personally I don’t think it’s as often as people like to claim, but regardless). Whether that image is who she is in real life or not, it’s not fair to say it’s an image that depicts someone who can’t open doors. Has she ever posed on a magazine or in a photoshoot and literally struggled with a door? Or acted incompetent? Or are you purely saying it because of the intense femininity? I ask these questions because it’s not okay that as a society we take things that mean one thing (i.e. this person is very feminine, she likes skirts) and then translates it to another thing entirely, that justly should not be implied (i.e. this person cannot write checks or even hold a door). 

        I really do love your site and your commentary, but this way of thinking isn’t helping anyone. 

        • Tom and Lorenzo

          To sum up:

          “I love your site and commentary, until you aim it at a celebrity I like and identify with.”

          This is what we do, hon. We look at pictures of celebrities and spin out semi-bitchy conversations about their image and their style. If you would like to take every statement absolutely literally and become offended by it, that’s up to you. So if you think the gist of this post was “Feminine women are too stupid to open doors,” be our guest. Experience tells us there’s no point in debating it.

        • shawnhunter

          I was expecting the “fangurl” comment, so that’s not really surprising. It’s funny, I’ve only ever seen Zooey in two movies, never watched a single episode of her show, and never listened to a single song of hers, but sticking up for her (and her image) makes me a “fangurl.” And, I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought my comment was pretty composed? But, no, actually I need to calm down.
          I really enjoy this site too and the fact that part of the humor is in mocking celebrities for engaging in this image-oriented show they put on, but I think it gets dicey when we start translating someone’s image into intellect.

          I promise this is the last thing I’ll say on the topic. My intent wasn’t to attack your commentary, so I apologize. Hopefully we can bury the hatchet and move on.

          • Tom and Lorenzo

            Yes, honey. You really do sound like you need to calm down. Not only did we not make any claims as to her competence or her intellect, but there is nothing that differentiates this post from thousands of others on this site. “Lea Michele tries too hard to be loved.” “Halle Berry is obsessed with looking hot.” “Chloe Sevigny has multiple personality disorder.” “Kristen Stewart is telling her detractors to suck it.” “Anne Hathaway is poledancing for an Oscar.”

            You don’t have to apologize for anything; it’s just that we disagree with what you’re saying.

          • DeborahJozayt

            I don’t think you’re being a ‘fangurl’, if that helps :) I think throwing out fangurl is a way to diminish the opinion of another person, and I do believe your argument has merit. 

        • mightbewrong

          Maybe you interpret all this as femininity, but to me she ends up in ‘wide-eyed and helpless’ territory, which is an utter misfire. That’s what’s being riffed on here.

  • Lucyloogirl

    I think she looks more like her sister, Emily Deschanel, in this shot. i don’t think I’ve ever seen a stronger resemblance between the two women.

  • Jecca2244

    her dedication to tights is so odd to me because I spend my whole winter wanting to take them off and sing joyously on the day i can go bare legged. 

  • lrober03

    I could do without the phantom box.  it kinda looks like she’s leaning on thin air.  

  • Imasewsure

    This is what happens (in a good way) when a professional stylist gets ahold of an interesting (just fashion-tragic) lady star!! Love this photo – love that dress

  • Figgy

    It’s a gorgeous shot, but it’s NOT Zooey Deschanel. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    I’m not crazy about the picture, but it is better than most of the “adorkable” mugging she insists on doing all the time.

  • Danielle Lisle

    I like that she’s not trying to hard to be the wide-eyed, simpering Zooey we’re used to seeing on the RC and in photos.

  • Zaftiguana

    This is the facial expression of Zooey circa “ELF” before she somehow aged 10 years and turned into a preteen.

  • hellkell

    Are we 100% sure this isn’t her sister?

  • jilly_d


  • Pamela

    This is off-topic but has anyone else seen the Uncanny Valley that is Julia Roberts’ commercial for whatever perfume/cosmetics she is shilling for?  (Or, for which she’s shilling.)  Not a line, shadow, or imperfection on her face, nor a hint of movement in a dress that appears to be painted on.  It’s pretty freaky.

  • unbornfawn

    I think it is her best picture because she looks like Courtney Cox here.

  • Trisha26

    This looks nothing like Zooey. I don’t know what photoshopping nonsense was used, but she looks squished sideways and 10 years older.

  • Laylalola

    Someone got sick of her titled-head preteen posing and figured a way to force her to prop her head up while convincing her that it was her idea and just a prop there for her to lean on in the shot. 

  • Silly Grrl

    Recently, she has been bugging the life out of me. I like this picture. However, I resemble the anime character remark. :)

  • iCouture

    Unfortunately, next time we see her at an event, she will be in a 3/4 length dress, black tights, head tilted to the side, and facial expression like sad confused panda.  

  • j_anson

    But if she looked like a grownup woman, people wouldn’t ask her things like, “When did you first realize you were adorable?”

  • sleah_in_norcal

    does she have on heavy black tights with it?

  • libraangel

    Yeh!  Zooey finally has grown up and is longer 5 years old!

  • suzanne

    I really like her show and I do think she’s funny, but have been wondering why she looks so differently lately and I don’t just mean this cover. I think she must have put collagen or something in her upper lip, because she definitely doesn’t look like herself anymore. Shame.

  • Meg Smitherman

    I think she looks weird. I’d rather see a woman in a look that she loves and feels comfortable in, than a look that suits her age. However that’s determined.

  • peachy

    yeah maybe she looks better. but the dress is obscured, which is too bad because it’s tres fab. side note: the model looks like julia stiles.

  • Meklar

    She looks like Courtney Cox in this picture.  Weird.

  • Sara Munoz Munoz

    What the heck is she leaning on?? Leave it to InStyle…

  • Caitrin

    as long as she’s not whining, i’m fine.

  • PrunellaV

    This is the kind of thing Jennifer Aniston should be wearing.

  • pookiesmom

    I don’t care what anybody says, I adore her and am obsessed with her show.

  • carolie_king

    Dating yourselves, boys – Zooey probably doesn’t know what a check is.

  • quiltrx

    She really looks terrific here.

  • akprincess72

    …best she’s ever looked!

  • Christi Wampler

    She looks so much like Courtney Cox here that I was confused.