Dua Lipa by Testino (V113, Summer 2018) Dua Lipa was the hottest pop star to come out of 2017. Straight off of her mainstream debut with “New Rules,” it seemed as though Dua had the Midas touch of pop music. She proved she was more than just a one-hit wonder with “One Kiss,” her collaboration with super-producer Calvin Harris that went #1 in the UK. In Summer 2018, Dua solidified her power as an artist and the new shining star showed no signs of fizzling out. Another #1 (with “Electricity”) and two Grammys later, Dua is still showing us that spark V saw in her at the time of her cover.
Mariah Carey by Mario Testino (V112, Spring 2018) Mariah Carey has been in the public sphere for over two decades. Her career’s longevity should be an object of envy for every musician in the industry. Her illustrious star status was only further escalating in Spring 2018, as Mariah was gearing up for her second Vegas residency and 15th album release. “The Butterfly Returns,” an apt name for the songbird’s Sin City affair, is still ongoing, and “Caution,” a three-year awaited album, received universal critical acclaim. Around the shooting of her V cover, she was doing what she does best - creating great music and live entertainment experiences for her loyal fans. Mariah has been on top since her inception; Spring 2018 was no exception.
Beyoncé by Testino (V25, Sept/Oct 2003) Beyoncé wasn’t new to the scene. She had already spent half a decade as a member of Destiny’s Child, the R&B girl group that amassed millions of album sales and 3 Grammys. However, Fall of 2003 marked definitive proof of Beyoncé’s potential for solo stardom. Fresh off a chart-topping debut album and eight consecutive weeks at #1 with “Crazy in Love,” Beyoncé unknowingly began a long career as music’s “it” girl. Like a butterfly leaving its cocoon, Beyoncé graced the cover of V at the genesis of her solo success, leaving no questions about the power of her presence and artistry.
Courtney Love by Mario Testino (V44, Winter 2006/07) Courtney Love has understandably had some hard times, but at the end of 2006, she seemed to be turning a new leaf towards prosperity. Courtney was recently sober, putting legal issues behind her and returning to her roots as a creative force. By the time of her V Magazine cover, she was enjoying the fruits of her labor with a published memoir, a book of manga, a second solo album and a documentary following that album’s making, titled “The Return of Courtney Love”. Courtney was coming back to the limelight in familiar fashion, leading her towards the reunification of her rock band, Hole, and a foray into visual arts. Love, regardless of her time or place, has been a creative legend unafraid to showcase her genius in any medium she chooses.
Lana Del Rey by Stevie Nicks by Steven Klein (V108, Fall Preview 2017) No one generated as much clamor in the alternative pop space as Lana Del Rey did in first half of the 2010s. Garnering a sad girl status over four successful albums, Lana moved into a new phase of her artistry with her happiest album yet, “Lust for Life”. She described her album as having a “retro sensibility with a futuristic flair,” something emulated in her V cover, as she straddled the back of a horse under cherry blossoms. Lana has always been a force to be reckoned with, retaining one of the most loyal and fervent fandoms of any artist. In Fall 2017, she only kept adding to that fanbase with delectable tunes and open honesty in her next chapter of music.
Rihanna by Steven Klein (V95, Summer 2015) Rihanna has been a fixture at the top of the charts since she debuted. By the time of her cover, she had already captured the top spot on the U.S. charts 13 times and grabbed 8 Grammys. In summer of 2015, she was revving up for bigger and better things. She had just wrapped up her first starring role in a movie, voicing a character in Dreamwork’s Home, and was recording her most recent album, Anti. Despite the long drought in her music since, Anti delivered bangers, like “Work” and “Needed Me”, that kept her fans quenched for years to come. Rihanna has always been a consistent purveyor of pop excellence, then and now.
Bieber by Inez & Vinoodh (V75, Spring Preview 2012) The sheer excitement surrounding Justin Bieber in the Spring of 2012 was polarizing. Whether you loved him or hated him, he was capturing the hearts of millions around the world with his pop success and boyish charm. Bieber was entering into the release of third studio album, “Believe”, a new post-pubescent era embracing his adolescence. He was developing into his artistry, reinventing his image and dropping tracks that proved he was more than just teenage fodder. Mirrored through his V cover, Justin Bieber was to be taken seriously as a musician, a sentiment that has followed him throughout his career.
Janet Jackson by Jean-Paul Goude (V45, Spring Preview 2007) On V’s Spring Preview 2007 cover, Janet Jackson is seen smiling from ear to ear. She had plenty of reason to be happy around this time. Her last studio album, 20 Y.O., had reached platinum certification and received a Grammy nomination. She was collecting coin, ranked by Forbes as the entertainment industry’s seventh wealthiest woman. Her string of box office successes was about to continue, as she was filming Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married”, which would become her third consecutive movie to open at number one. She was deepening the mark she had already made, solidifying her legacy as a pop culture icon and grinning through it all.