Where form meets function

From a nude Miley Cyrus to a stern Kanye West, very few magazines are able to create a variety of standout, if not viral, moments through their cover visuals. Often working with incredible photographers and editors, PAPER magazine has continued to wow readers with big names, big visuals and great content. Founded and launched in 1984, the New York City-based publication was originally printed as a black and white 16-page foldout, with production completed in The New York Times offices.

Since its launch, the publication has gone on to amass a huge readership with the expansion of the mag’s aesthetic appeal. Past cover models include the likes of the late Prince, K-pop Princess CL with Moschino‘s creative director Jeremy Scott and the one and only Mariah Carey. In celebration of the magazine’s recent raunchy release, we’re counting down our top seven favorite PAPER magazine covers.

7.  Blac Chyna, Sept. 2016 (photographed by Charlotte Rutherford)

Whether you love her, hate her or don’t even know her, you have to admit that model-cum-entrepreneur Blac Chyna has become somewhat of a household name in the last few years. The now mother of two has taken on the world of music, reality television and social media to create her own exclusive brand. In her PAPER mag cover, Chyna exudes a heavenly glow, deflecting any aura of hate or negativity coming her way. Despite her estranged relationship with ex Rob Kardashian – whom she was engaged to at the time of this shoot – the Lashed cosmetics founder basked in her pregnancy glow in this cheeky-yet-delicate frame.

6. Chloë Sevigny, Winter 2015 (photographed by Kate Owen)

In celebration of Tara Subkoff’s directorial debut, #Horror, PAPER mag enlisted the help of lead actress Chloë Sevigny for this Carrie-inspired cover shoot. The Kids and Gummo star rose to fame in 1994 after a seven-page spread was written about her in the New Yorker – and we can totally see why. Sevigny has always maintained a steady and loyal following in the independent film scene and we would be more than stoked if, in a potential remake, they enlist none other than the queen herself. Till then, we have this awesome cover to go by.

5. Kylie Jenner, Apr. 2016 (photographed by Erik Madigan Heck)

We, of course, couldn’t mention Chyna without mentioning Kylie Jenner. As someone who doesn’t need much of an introduction, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner family stood boldly in her PAPER mag shoot in this Instagram-themed series as part of this colorful pop art-style shoot. At the time, the young media personality had one of the biggest followings on Instagram and was in the midst of her recently launched lip kit line. Undoubtedly she has one of the most recognizable names, perfectly accompanied by this treat of a picture.

4. Marilyn Manson, Mar. 2015 (photographed by Terry Richardson)

Marilyn Manson and his awesome dad! ??❤️ @marilynmanson

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We absolutely couldn’t resist this one. The self-proclaimed dark lord actually graced PAPER mag with a sort of smile in a lovable, yet eerie, shoot with PAPER mag. In his interview with the publication, Manson discusses the death of his mother, life lessons in rehab, and finally receiving his report card from when he attended Christian school as a child. Pictured here with his father before his passing, Manson’s PG-13 cover is most definitely a sly stab at those who think they have him all figured out.

3. Rihanna, Mar. 2017 (photographed by Sebastian Faena)

Running a bodega looking like a real-life anime character might be a hard feat for many to pull off, but not if you’re Rihanna of course. After first gracing PAPER mag’s cover in 2007 with the debut of her single “Umbrella”, the Bajan pop star took to the magazine again in this edgy, punk-inspired shoot. Known for taking risks both in her music and fashion, we’re excited about another potential Rihanna editorial.

2. Nicki Minaj, Nov. 2017 (photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth)

BTW, this is our new cover. #BreakTheInternet cc @NickiMinaj

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Taken by legendary photographer Ellen Von Unwerth, Nicki Minaj’s recent cover for PAPER mag is undoubtedly one of the biggest releases of the magazine. Bringing back the #breaktheinternet byline, Nicki’s “minaj-a-trois” shoot is definitely a marker of the singer’s attitude to sex, women, and empowerment. From her killer verse on the star-studded “Monster” track, to her private and personal admissions on 2014 album The Pink Print, Minaj has grown considerably in her outlook and outreach. This frank and open cover shoot is currently a hot topic and will definitely have people talking in years to come.

1. Kim Kardashian, Winter 2014 (photographed by Jean-Paul Goude)


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As you may have guessed, our number one spot goes to the original #breaktheinternet PAPER mag cover with Kim Kardashian. With the help of photographer Jean-Paul Goude, the reality TV star re-created the original champagne glass photo taken by Goude in 1976 in a fairly shocking photo series that includes one or two NSFW full nude shots. Although the images may seem tame now, at the time of its release, the image was heavily circulated and widely discussed on Twitter and, of course, Instagram. The entrepreneur undoubtedly has her sights set on global domination, but till then, she can dominate our top spot in this PAPER mag top seven round-up.

In case you missed it, you can check out more on PAPER mag’s recent Nicki Minaj feature here.

A Berlin-based gal from Brum.

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