Bad ideas first!” is how Jessica Pels begins a session brainstorming cover lines for the May issue of Cosmopolitan. She was named editor-in-chief at the Hearst Magazines publication last autumn.
Pels’ legs dangle as she perches on a credenza on one end of the long conference room and reveals to some 40 staff members from various departments, including video and social media, that Yara Shahidi, a star of the sitcom Black-ish, would be appearing on the cover, alongside Charles Melton, who plays Reggie on Riverdale. They are both in the forthcoming movie The Sun is Also a Star.
Cosmopolitan, which has the highest circulation of any Hearst magazine, was taken from a sleepy literary journal to a sensational pro-sex feminist magazine by its longtime editor, Helen Gurley Brown, who worked there from 1965-1997. She stepped down at age 74 and became editor-in-chief of Cosmo’s international editions until her death in 2012 at 90.