Magazine cover is beautiful to some, revolting to others

July 12, 1991|By Heather Locke | Heather Locke,Special to The Evening Sun

BEAUTIFUL." "Revolting." "Interesting."

It hasn't even arrived on Baltimore-area newsstands in its demure, white wrapper designed to hide all of Demi Moore except her face. But thanks to publicity, enough has been seen of August's Vanity Fair magazine cover -- and of naked and pregnant Moore -- to spark praise and condemnation.

"I've been pregnant three times and the look isn't appealing to me at all. Disgusting," says Joan Williams of Catonsville while waiting for a boat at the Inner Harbor.

Sandy Cline of Baltimore, who is pregnant, says, "It doesn't bother me. Other things that have been shown before have lowered the shock value. The fact that she's pregnant doesn't offend me."

Does the photo, shot by celebrity portraitist Annie Leibovitz, evoke images of the Madonna? Vanity Fair Editor Tina Brown has said that the photo shows "there is nothing more glorious than the sight of a woman carrying a child."

"I don't think very much of it," says Dorothy Lindley, manager of the Motherhood maternity clothing store at the Inner Harbor. "Pregnancy is beautiful, but not for the front of a magazine."

It's "great," says Harrisburg, Pa., resident Kelly Kirchner, mother of a 2 1/2 -year-old and an 11-month-old, while shopping in the Gallery mall downtown. "It's amazing to me that Demi, who is a soap star turned box-office success, can do this and be respectable."

In fact, this isn't Moore's first nude appearance, nor is it her first in which a pregnancy was an issue. In the movie "The Seventh Sign," released in 1988, Moore portrays a pregnant woman who believes that the world is about to end and who considers suicide. She is shown nude in one scene, but her bulging belly is all makeup and rubber. Moore, wife of actor Bruce Willis, became pregnant with her daughter Rumer just after filming ended; the new baby is due in August.

"Gross! If she wants to go around like that she should stay in the bedroom, not where everyone can see her," says Nancy Kreis of Glen Burnie.

Pairing nudity and pregnancy before the public eye is not new. The January issue of Rolling Stone magazine printed an announcement about the birth of singer Art Garfunkel's son. There was an accompanying photo that showed Katherine Cermak Garfunkel very pregnant and nude in a pose similar to Moore's. Model Claudia Zelman posed pregnant and nude from the waist up in 1986 for photos used to advertise Birthright, a now-defunct skin care line for pregnant women.

During his lunch break near the harbor, T.J. Klevinsky of Baltimore sees the photo and says "Personally, I find it revolting." But tourist Rosa Noordan from Holland views it differently. "Beautiful picture. It's difficult for a model to pose, especially when pregnant, but she's beautiful."

Whether or not people like the cover, the magazine is likely to profit. Maryland News Distributors sends 5,000 copies of Vanity Fair to approximately 350 stores in the Baltimore metropolitan area. Due to the publicity the photo has received, their orders have been up. Some area newsstands will get deliveries of the magazine today; most will have it by Wednesday, the distributors say.

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