After reading her delicious memoir, How to Murder Your Life, we became convinced that the fearless mag freak Cat Marnell was the best possible person to weigh in on what’s really happening at the newsstand. How does your glossy fare in her scathing critique?
Overall thoughts: Sometimes I like what Playboy has been doing lately—trendy girls. Like, I really wanted that Sky Ferreira issue…and I love Ashley Smith. This one has a creepy rabbit man on the cover.
Writing: I can’t read these manly essays. Don’t make me! Fine, I’ll read one sentence from this Navy SEAL story: “The cathode ray tubes spooled down and faded into black.” Kill me!
Photography: Eh, all the models look alike. Symmetrical, straight parts, L.A. models doing L.A. things. I miss the old Playboy here. I mean, remember naked Naomi Campbell with all the fruit?
Design: I’ve never known a magazine with such wide pages.
Favorite story: The long-form Q&A interview is always the best thing in Playboy, even when it’s with Matthew McConaughey. Did you know that he thought that “the vagina faced east-west” until he was 15?
I could do without… “The Globalist’s Guide to Drinking Gin.” Ack. I detest gin. My Mimi pours it in her Ensure shakes, though.
Rachael Ray Every Day
Overall thoughts: I eat pre-sliced apples and peanut butter from 7-11 every day, so this magazine is exciting!
Writing: Colorful! I like the Letter from Rach: “We’ve got wings: smokin’-hot, curried, chipotle’d, peppery-pesto’d, and beer-and-pretzeled—these wingers are real humdingers!”
Photography: A bit…gory. So many wings! Those poor little chickens.
Favorite story: “Romaine.” It’s about lettuce. Did you know you’re supposed to avoid romaine with a big butt? That’s what Rach calls “the root.”
I could do without… A layout of six salad spinners. Just tell me Rachael’s favorite one, man!
Overall thoughts: I’m preparing myself for 15 watch ads.
Writing: Magazines like this never have any personality; they’re not supposed to.
Photography: Juergen Teller shot the Jake Gyllenhaal cover, but you’d never guess it. The photo of Jake on the inside hiding behind an arm load of pink hydrangeas would have been my pick for the cover. It’s all about moments. That’s what will save print!
Favorite story: “Golden Girls!” Real old ladies looking all pre-bust Ruth Madoff in Brooks Brothers and Bally furs, modeling enormous jewelry on their withered hands! Very dope. Those Trump-y Palm Beach tans look authentic, too.
Overall thoughts: This is an out-of-date issue of the worst tabloid, but where I live in Chinatown, you can’t even get this at the nail salons, so, sure, I’ll read it.
Favorite story: “From Rags to Riches!” which is five interesting pages about celebs who grew up crazy-poor. Oprah wore potato sacks to school? Really!? God, that’s dark.
Writing: It’s not fun to read, because none of it seems true—not even in a People magazine “Let’s just run the publicists’ version of the truth” way.
I could do without… The “spot the difference” puzzle. If print wants to last, it can’t waste space like this. Make up a juicy item about Jennifer Lawrence!
C California Style
Overall thoughts: This automatically gets an A-plus from me, because the cover girl is Elle Fanning, star of one of my favorite movies, The Neon Demon.
Favorite story: The cover profile, which features photos of Elle shot at the 1920s Paramour Estate, which was also featured in The Neon Demon! It’s where the model-cannibals attack Elle in the empty pool and eat her, remember? Oh, spoiler alert.
Photography: The black-and-white photos of L.A.-based model Elaine Irwin are nice. She looks great at 47, but if she ever wants to look really great, the only thing to do is eat a virgin. That’s a beauty tip.
I could do without… The boring last page, about a “digital influencer” and her “online lifestyle publication that taps [her] extensive bicoastal network of friends.” Snooze! Use this page for something killer…like the eyeball that the model burps up at the end of Neon Demon.
What don’t you talk about in your book?
I cut 3,000 words about this sociopath socialite whom my ex-boyfriend dated after me. I was an intern at [Redacted], and she got a gig in the fashion closet there just so she could print slutty party photos of me on company computers and leave them in the printer for everyone to see. Humiliating!
What did you do with your six-figure advance?
I bought a teepee and crystals. I went to see Babyshambles in London, I went to Art Basel, I bought a Brigid Berlin–embroidered New York Post pillow, I paid obscene rent, I went to the fab Hope Rehab in Thailand…and I didn’t pay my taxes. I was high! Now all my checks go right to the IRS.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Candy corn and Cosplay wigs! And I’ve been buying cigarettes again—so bad.
I like booze on the go—lately I’ve been buying these cute electric-pink-and-lavender cans of rosé called Lila.
What do your parents think of the book?
I don’t know, because all they ever say is, “Caitlin, you must pay the IRS and get health insurance.”
Who gave you the best advice?
My friend Nancy Jo Sales, who writes for Vanity Fair, told me, “Just ignore your editor when you don’t agree with her and write the book you want.” And I did!
What’s your next book going to be about?
A saucy pill head in her early thirties who loves Britney Spears and wears clown makeup.