Take a close look at the People magazine cover, above, which was released on social media this morning. It says "The Beautiful Issue" instead of "World's Most Beautiful." As People Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle explained in a teaser post yesterday (in which he declined to reveal that Pink would land his latest cover, saving that reveal for today),
This week we will be unveiling our annual issue celebrating Hollywood's most beautiful stars. We've been doing it every year since 1990 when Michelle Pfeiffer was on the cover—and picking the cover subject of our "World's Most Beautiful" issue has always been one of the best parts of my job. ... Over the years the name of the issue has evolved ("50 Most Beautiful," "Most Beautiful Woman," etc.), but the words "Most Beautiful" have always been part of the title. This year we're renaming it "The Beautiful Issue"—to make clear that the issue is not a beauty contest. Nothing else has changed.
Oh, c'mon! Everything has changed! Beautiful people are a dime a dozen in the entertainment world, but most beautiful? We, the ugly and average-looking people of America, have, for nearly three decades, depended on People for its arbitrary but faux-authoritative annual shortlist. Today we are ... bereft.
And, by the way, how the hell are "Beautiful Issue" cover stars Pink and her kids supposed to feel about this? Hey guys, congrats, this is "not a beauty contest" and you didn't win it.
Adding to the current crisis: D.C. publication The Hill is killing off its "Most Beautiful" franchise entirely. As The Hill columnist Judy Kurtz writes in a post this morning,
After nearly 15 years, The Hill is bidding a beautiful bye-bye to its annual 50 Most Beautiful list. While it's had a remarkably gorgeous run, The Hill team feels the time has come for 50 Most Beautiful to be added to that big, beautiful list in the sky. "It's been a great run, but all things must come to an end," The Hill editor-in-chief Bob Cusack said. "Rest in peace."
Kurtz notes that both Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump made the "50 Most Beautiful" list last year, and in 2016 the list itself became a comedic plot point on HBO's "Veep."
Why kill off the franchise entirely? Why not tweak it to be less beauty-contest-y, like People did?
Well, as Jess Cagle mentions in his editor's note regarding his franchise rebrand, "The Beautiful Issue" is meant to "celebrate the most beautiful qualities of all: strength, humanity and artistry."
And that's obviously completely impossible in Washington, D.C.