Patience was wearing thin at the GQ offices. Kate Upton’s cover shoot was just two days away, and no one could decide on the concept. The photo department conference room was a mess: dirty coffee cups, crumpled napkins, and doughnut crumbs covered the floor, and scrapped ideas were scrawled all over the dry-erase board. “Horses! Helmet? Riding crop! Boots?” read one crossed-off list. Someone else had written, “Too soon to do another palm frond?” It was determined early on that both adult diapers and men’s ties were off the table, and weird bondage-y one-piece bathing suits had been overused. Of course, a two-piece was out of the question: As everyone knows, Upton has an iron-clad “no bikini” clause in her contract.*
One staffer came in early, hoping to get a head start on brainstorming. He cleared himself a space on the conference table, opened his notepad to a fresh page, and wrote “OUTER SPACE” at the top. He sketched some planets and a shooting star. He drew Upton perching cross-legged on Mars, a spaceship gliding over her left shoulder. She could look sexy in a sort of alien way, maybe? With a tight, glowing bodysuit, perhaps? It would be cool if they could incorporate lasers.
Another staffer joined him with fresh coffee. “What are you drawing?” he asked. “Oh, nothing,” said the first guy, trying to hide his notepad. The second guy looked over his shoulder. “Wait, that’s brilliant!” he exclaimed, tearing the notepad from the first guy’s hands. “Kate Upton in a spacesuit, sort of like Liv Tyler in Armageddon!” He began pacing with excitement. “Liv Tyler didn’t wear a spacesuit in Armageddon,” protested the first guy, but the second guy had already run out of the room, triumphantly waving the notepad over his head.
By lunchtime, a spacesuit had been successfully procured by a GQ intern who couldn’t quite explain how it had come into his possession (he mumbled something about an “initiation”). He wouldn’t allow them to alter the suit to Upton’s proportions, but everyone agreed they could work around this. “That’s what Photoshop is for!” said one wardrobe assistant as he merrily steamed the creases out of the suit’s left leg. It was decided that Upton would hold the helmet under her arm, so that her face would be visible and her hair could be tousled and sexy-looking. “After all, it’s her hair that everyone really cares about,” one staffer pointed out. Everyone nodded in grave agreement.
The shoot went smoothly, and there was unanimous consensus that this was by far their sexiest cover ever. “It’s such a new side of Kate!” marveled one of the stylists. A colleague agreed: “It’s unlike any other photo that’s ever been taken of her! Although the popsicle is a little bit cliché.”
*In case you can’t tell by now, this entire thing was made up.