The Oral History of Complex The accidental leak heard ’round the internet: Kim Kardashian before-and-after retouching (April/May 2009). She's fine either way.

2009

NOAH CALLAHAN-BEVER: “For our second Kim Kardashian cover, we accidentally leaked an image of Kim that was not retouched. Her publicist hit us back and asked us to fix it. We didn’t really think much of it. But Bucky ‘Dumpster Diver’ Turco, our former web editor, ran the two photos on his site, animalnewyork.com, and it became a national news story.”

TIM LEONG: "We did a CGI cover with Kanye West [April/May], his fourth appearance at the time. We’d had lots of meetings about this whole thing—phone calls with him and Chris Milk, the guy who did the CGI, and the video director. We talked about how the headline was going to work, how it would be rendered in 3D. Then Kanye came in for the layout meeting. Actually came into the office to approve it. It’s impressive that he cares that much about how his content is presented. Nobody else really gives a shit. It’s usually just an interview and then fuck off. So. He came into my office, looks at the cover, and says, ‘Who did this?’ I was like, ‘Uh, that was me.’ He says, ‘It completely undermines the artistic integrity of the whole project.’ I took a beat and said, ‘Well, how do you want to fix this? Let’s run through some options.’ So, we redesigned the cover feature while he sat there.”

KID CUDI: “I want my closet Complex like the magazine.”

[From “Cleveland Is the Reason”]


TIM LEONG: “The problem with our Jonah Hill cover shoot [June/July] was that we’d neglected to get a shiny glove so that he could look like Michael Jackson. Jonah was super-pissed about it. He didn’t understand how we’d forgotten that, and I don’t think he was wrong in that regard. We went out and got different gloves, tried different ways to create one. For one we tried to sew tiny sequins to, another with glitter paint. It was all hands on deck trying to make a shiny glove. But that’s the beauty of working at Complex. There were so many constraints. Constraint breeds creativity. Because we don’t have all the resources, we were forced to come up with interesting and creative solutions. Of course, after that cover came out, Michael Jackson died. What could we do? It’s not like the cover was trying to capitalize on unfortunate circumstances.”

PUSHA T: “Stylin’ on them fuckers/Can’t fade the brothers/G.I. Joe wrap my body on that Complex cover.”

[From “I’m Good (Remix).” Clipse appeared in a concept cover created by artist/toy designer KAWS.]

You know who loves his job? Gavin Bond. The top shotta photographed Katy Perry for our June/July 2009 cover. Before that, went to Puerto Rico to shoot Cassandra "Cassie" Ventura for the legendary "Bananas Hot" cover.

 

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