UNTIL THEY GET THE REAL THING: Essence may have scooped Vogue, sort of, in being the first women’s magazine to put Michelle Obama on its cover since the presidential election, but the Time Inc. title did so by relying on archival images. Essence’s January issue is dedicated to President-elect Barack Obama, with essays and commentary from Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Gwen Ifill and other notable African-Americans. The issue has two covers: one of Barack by photographer Ben Baker from a shoot for Fortune earlier this year, the other of an inaugural-looking Michelle shot during the summer of 2007 by photographer Jim Wright. Essence and Ebony are both planning special January coverage of Obama’s journey to the White House. Meanwhile, Vogue said it was interested in featuring the soon-to-be first lady in the magazine, but no plans have been finalized.
— Stephanie D. Smith