Dear Lena Dunham,

Thank you for shouting out Complex in your Vogue short film. It was funny, and inspired this letter, which you will hopefully read. I’ve worked for Complex for three years, and hearing you mention it in the same sentence as Pakistani Maxim has retroactively validated every single day. I shout out and defend your television show Girls to friends, colleagues, and strangers, and this felt like a returned favor. Sorta.

And yet I have one little criticism. Not even a criticism, just something to point out. In the video, you mention that you were originally looking to Elisha Cuthbert's Complex photo shoot as inspiration, before you were dissuaded from doing so by Hamish Bowles, the European editor-at-large for the American Vogue.

Except I feel like you maybe did take a tip from Cuthbert in Complex when posing for your Vogue cover shoot (which Jezebel was wrong to place a bounty on, but that’s a complicated issue and not fit for me to discuss right now, or maybe ever as I am a white heterosexual male). Please see the composite image below.

I feel like you’re maybe putting your own spin on Cuthbert’s pose, making it your own by being less confident about what to do with your hands. Cuthbert’s left hand goes to her nest of hair like a bird settling into familiar territory. She has probably been doing this for cameras since she was small and her caregivers (parents, I would assume, though I shouldn’t assume anything) recognized her preternatural photogenic qualities, like how you can just tell some kids are going to grow up to be so attractive that they’re like weird aliens living among us. I like your pose more, with the hesitant hands and a facial expression more in line with the kind I make when thinking through important decisions about whether to go out of the house in those pants, or whatever. Your left hand isn’t in your hair-nest like Cuthbert’s, but is instead at your temple, contemplative. Cuthbert’s right hand is sort of covering her ear, like she’s tired of listening to us non-aliens squawk and mewl, and just needs a break to think beautiful thoughts peacefully. Your hand is pulling at your collar like, “Geez, is it warm in here or is just me, lol?” My face has never, ever looked the way that Cuthbert’s looks.

I hope this has been as helpful for you as it has been for me.

Thank you for your time,


[via Vogue]