Demi Moore

Photograph by Annie Leibovitz

I don’t think it’s a good photograph per se. It’s a magazine cover. If it were a great portrait, she wouldn’t be covering her breasts.

Annie Leibovitz

Demi Moore

  • Annie Leibovitz
  • 1991

The Hollywood star Demi Moore was seven months pregnant with her second child when she graced the cover of Vanity Fair in nothing but her birthday suit. Such a display was not unusual for Moore, who had the birth of her first child recorded with three video cameras. But it was unprecedented for a mainstream media outlet. Portraitist Annie Leibovitz made an image that celebrated pregnancy as much as it titillated, showing how maternity could be not only empowering but also sexy. The magazine’s editor, Tina Brown, deemed Moore’s act a brave declaration, “a new young movie star willing to say, ‘I look beautiful pregnant,’ and not ashamed of it.” The photo was the first mass-media picture to sexualize pregnancy, and many found it too shocking for the newsstand. Some grocery chains refused to stock the issue, while others covered it up like pornography. It was not, of course. But it was a provocative magazine cover, and it did what only the best covers can: change the culture. Once pregnancy was a relatively private affair, even for public figures. After Leibovitz’s picture, celebrity births, naked maternity shots and paparazzi snaps of baby bumps have become industries unto themselves.

The magazine shoot that changed America's view of pregnancy

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