REALLY, IT’S ART: How do you burnish a tarnished brand? Well, if you’re Mark Healy and you left GQ to edit Penthouse in the age of waning lad mags and Internet porn, you hope marquee photographers will do it. Having Terry Richardson shoot the magazine’s first perforated centerfold was the initial coup, possibly testing whether the usual arguments about the tactile and visual particularity of print and quality photography extend to skin mags. The July issue features Richardson’s photographs of Sasha Grey, the 19-year-old porn star who was the subject of a notorious Los Angeles magazine profile and whose accompanying commentary sounds like it’s been ripped from Susie Bright: “The more I watched porn, the more I saw an opportunity to continue exploring my sexuality and pushing my own boundaries and finding new ways to define myself as a woman.” (MySpace superstar Tila Tequila appears on the cover, since the liquor advertising in Penthouse precludes an under-21 cover model.)
“I’d been working on getting Terry in the magazine since before I left my own job,” said Healy. “A magazine for young men in the year 2007 would be remiss not to try to get Terry in the magazine, to get his vision represented.” At first, Richardson, most famous for his stark, aggressively erotic photos, was — perhaps not surprisingly — reluctant, according to Healy: “It seemed to me that he wanted to see some improvement before he came on board.” Since leaving his post as GQ articles editor last October, Healy has redesigned the magazine, created a service section called Life on Top and brought back comics. “Obviously, [Richardson] doesn’t want for work, but I think he wants a Penthouse that is cool and that has some energy and some creativity,” Healy said. “That’s good for him, and it’s good for anybody who shoots the way he does.” — Irin Carmon
PICTURE THIS: Alec Soth has had his fill of fashion. “I’m done with fashion. It’s back to real life,” said the photographer, who has been shooting projects for W magazine, among others. The lensman was in Paris for the opening exhibit and launch of Magnum Photo’s Fashion Magazine at the Jeu de Paume on Tuesday. However, the Minnesota native’s moonlighting gig may have left him with some hard-to-shake fashion habits. “I was kind of getting used to all the assistants and all the art directors and all the pampering,” he said with a smile. Soth’s solo show at the Jeu de Paume is slated for next spring. — Emilie Marsh
IT’S ALWAYS L.A.’S FAULT: Magazine publishing lag time means that Lindsay Lohan’s cover promiscuity — that is, the photos for which the actress has posed, rather than ubiquitous paparazzi wreckage shots — have yet to let up. A Los Angeles Confidential interview with the troubled actress, conducted two weeks before her most recent rehab check-in, hits the newsstands next week. On her upcoming role in “I Know Who Killed Me,” Lohan tells editor in chief Andrew Stone, “I do a lot of crying in scenes; at one point, [my character] takes a bunch of pills,” she said. “I didn’t know how to approach the challenge, so I just dove in.” She also reflects on Los Angeles: “The real hard thing about L.A. is that it’s all about one thing. Everyone always wants something. This industry is very lonely; I tend to get very lonely. When it’s a Sunday in L.A., and there’s no one around, and you see no cars go by, it’s a challenge.” Whether this at all pertains to Lohan’s own well-chronicled Los Angeles driving habits and wild lifestyle is a matter of interpretation. — I.C.
HONEST, I DIDN’T MEAN IT: Less than a week after Cosmopolitan editor in chief Kate White made a few biting remarks to Mediabistro.com about Glamour magazine (such as, “Glamour is no longer a major competitor on the newsstand”), she was all smiles at a luncheon Wednesday that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women competition. Incidentally, White attended the lunch because she was a winner in 1972. “It validated that I had to make it in the big city,” she commented on a video that was played during the L’Oréal-sponsored lunch at the Four Seasons restaurant. White is part of an eclectic group of past winners, including a managing director at Goldman Sachs, a former Miss California, Martha Stewart and Andrea Quinn Robinson, the president of Prescriptives and Tom Ford Beauty. Back when Stewart and Robinson made the list, it was called The 10 Best-Dressed College Girls in America. Stewart noted that she often sewed her own clothes when she was a student at Barnard College. She also acknowledged that she made the list in 1961 as a runner-up. “One of the top 10 got pregnant or flunked out of school,” she pointed out. “I got the late call.” — Amy Wicks