Strong and Beautiful: Behind the Scenes With Outside’s XX Cover Shoot

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Well, it’s a safe bet that the October issue of Outside will do well on the newsstand: The topic is what the magazine calls the XX Factor — female athletes — and the cover model is ridiculous cut and photogenic climber Alex Puccio. I’m sure some will criticize the magazine and the women for posing in swimsuits, but this is no Sports Illustrated bikini issue wrapped in Velveeta. The big message of this behind the scenes video, at least to me, is how muscular, strong, and yet feminine and girlish these athletes are.

Athletes are blessed genetically and gifted with the drive to train and build and hone, and if anything they should show their bodies more, whether male or female. Despite cyclical calls to put flesh on the skeletons walking the runways, fashion still embraces the woefully underfed look, and magazines routinely nip and tuck their images until even celebrities aren’t recognizable. Athletes serve as strong role models for body image, not portraying some untouchable ideal, but rather a result that leaves you healthier, stronger, and usually happier.

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{ 7 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Cat

    Certainly they should be proud of how good they look.. it’s unquestionable. It is Outside mag that is the sell-out…another magazine making money off scantily clad women…again and again. They have to use athletes as this is the readership and point of their mag but make no mistake, it is just to sell as many as they can and they use these women to do it. Case in point — the frame of a photog assist. tugging on Torah’s shirt to show more cleavage…Outside is Velveeta, too.

    • steve casimiro

      Well, this makes for an interesting debate. Outside is using them, but they’re using Outside. How should that color the issue?

  • tom

    I think the ones getting other people to pay them to do stuff they’d do for free are getting the better end of the deal. Can’t imagine many folks in the employ of Outside magazine would create a magazine (well, not one like Outside) purely for the fun of it w/no hope of payback.

  • Jody Kaufman

    OK – not sure I’m in agreement with the assumption about “another magazine making money off of scantily clad women.” If memory serves me correctly, doesn’t Outside feature more shirtless men than scantily clad women? Does anyone know the readership demographic or specific issue sales metrics, without them it is easy to paint the magazine with a broad brush. Also, most of the women I know who are athletic, in shape and attractive are ALWAYS interested in the aesthetic of women who share their ideas on fitness, health, etc. . . . All of the women in the featured shoot were beautiful and confident – the primary element of sexy not found in too many professional models.

  • sinuhe

    In the future everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes. -Banksy

    No one is holding a gun to Torah’s head telling her to strip down. She is a brand as are the others, how they choose to market their brand is up to themselves to judge.

  • -vince-

    While I think it’s great that Outside is exposing its readers to these female athletes — all of whom are legit and would destroy 99% of Outside’s audience in their given activity — it is obvious that this is a “sex sells” situation. All the featured athletes are young and pretty. These sports are not dominated by the young.

    Outside is featuring the most model-like of the elite athletes, not the most talented or accomplished. But what is Outside’s angle on this feature? I haven’t read it.

  • Jeff Kinney

    I’m with the critics on this one. As has been said, sex sells, and Outside is taking full advantage of that. The article could have focused on the women’s considerable accomplishments without also putting every single one of them in tiny outfits. Frankly, I don’t know what that magazine is supposed to be about anymore. (Its vague mission statement is unenlightening.) I really miss Nat Geo Adventure, a publication truly dedicated to love of the outdoors. An article like this would have been unimaginable for NGA, IMO. And it folded. Go figure.

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