Teenage Fan Club
On a recent afternoon, Annemarie Iverson, the new editor of Seventeen magazine, welcomed a guest to
her big red office high above Seventh Avenue. Ms. Iverson, who is 37 years old,
has shiny blond hair and blue eyes, and she wore a white blouse and custom-made
Levi’s with fringy leather flaps that looked like horse’s hooves. “They make me
happy,” Ms. Iverson said, looking down at her legs. “They’re jeans, you know? ”
A veteran of the Liz
Tilberis–era Harper’s Bazaar and YM who worked as a beauty and fitness
editor at Seventeen in the late
1980’s, Ms. Iverson returned to the publication at the end of September. Now
she’s trying to reinvigorate a 58-year-old magazine facing stiff competition
for the hearts and purses of pubescent and pre-pubescent girls.
“It’s a huge magazine and a big institution, and it always was
kind of like in a chastity belt,” Ms. Iverson said. “It’s always been quiet and
subtle, and I guess I just wanted to come in and make it loud. Amp it up. I
want to have the best voice, the most fun voice, the most informed voice, the
most on-target voice, and the most beautiful pictures. I just want to raise the
quality quotient. Every page should be inviting and cool and punchy.”
Was she going to sexify it, too?
“Maybe,” Ms. Iverson said. “But Seventeen ‘s a good girl. She’s good .
Even when she’s naughty, she’s good.”
Ms. Iverson’s good girl has
plenty of flirty challengers: YM , Teen People , Teen Vogue , ELLEgirl and Cosmo Girl! , among others.
“Everyone’s going after this because it’s a big population glut
right now, and mothers want to be like teenagers-there’s, like, a trickle-down
thing,” Ms. Iverson said. “Mothers want to wear what their teenage girls are
wearing. It’s a youth-obsessed nation. Suddenly everyone’s designing for young
people; everyone wants to be young.”
In Ms. Iverson’s office was a copy of the current issue of Seventeen , Ms. Iverson’s first as editor, with the Dawson’s Creek actress Katie Holmes on the cover. On the editor’s
page, there was a flattering picture of Ms. Iverson in what appears to be her
signature pose: left cheek outward, lower back curled, hands on sides,
abdominals out-and thick, pouty lips. She looked like a cast member from Melrose Plac e; she posed the same way
for Mediaweek in October. “My left
side works better,” Ms. Iverson explained.
Elsewhere in the new Seventeen,
on page 38, there was a story called “NYU 101,” about a day in the life of two
pretty coeds (facials at Bliss, shopping at Screaming Mimi’s). On page 44,
Carson Daly got a makeover. On page 48, there was a photograph of a reader who
thinks she looks like the actress Halle Berry.
“The idea with this is girls, everyone wants a role model, and
somehow they feel that their looks aren’t embraced or celebrated unless they
can see themselves in a celebrity,” Ms. Iverson said. “So our thinking with
this is, ‘Look, there’s someone out there famous who looks like you, so you
should feel good about yourself! You have a round face and you’re slightly
overweight-look, there’s Drew Barrymore!’ It seems very superficial or star,
uh, overdrive, but it really helps young women.”
Ms. Iverson thinks she’s in the right job.
“Yeah, there’s something very immature about me,” she said. “I
like this; I like being with young people. What’s cooler than that? We have fun
here: We act really immature, and we play games and have fun, and we have a
really light atmosphere. And we have kids around as much as possible. We invite
them over for Cokes and Diet Cokes and M&Ms …. Someone’s trying to run this
place-I mean, we’re always looking for who’s the parent–and I just refuse.
“I’m having a total blast,” she said. “I love coming to work, I
have great people with me, this is like a dream come true. I’ve never had an
easier job. We have to sell magazines. But the way I get there is by having
“This is a real girls’ magazine,” Ms. Iverson continued. “You
know, girl power. We’re the girls in control here; we’re in charge. Is it
capital-F feminism? You never use that word anymore. But it’s really about
feeling good about yourself, and yeah, you say, ‘Oh, this is very vain-how to
put on lip gloss or she’s blond.’ But it’s really about”-her voice got soft and
sleepy-” em-pow-er-ment .”
What about making readers smarter?
“That’s everywhere, subliminal-that’s a mission that Seventeen ‘s always had,” she said. “When Enid Haupt edited Seventeen at the end of World War II,
she was like, ‘I want to turn out better citizens.’ I wouldn’t be so flatfooted
to say it that way, but we believe in volunteerism, and we have a fiction
contest. We’re one of the only magazines left that publishes fiction. We have a
new young-artists competition. We’re about going to college and bettering
On page 80, there was a picture of a peeled banana and this
advice: “So it’s hard, it’s longer than six inches and it looks phallic-a
banana still isn’t a sex toy, girls.”
“You have to have one banana,” Ms. Iverson said. “It’s a little
tongue in cheek-so to speak.”
Lure vs. L.U.R.E.
New York City now has two hangouts called Lure. The newest Lure
is a restaurant-lounge on East 60th Street off Madison Avenue. The second Lure
is on West 13th Street and Ninth Avenue, and is actually The L.U.R.E.-for Leather, Uniforms, Rubber, Etc.-and it opened in
1994. Here’s a guide:
Lure: Open for dinner from 5 p.m. to midnight; lunch, 11:30 a.m.
to 3 p.m.; brunch on Sunday from noon to 3:00 p.m.
L.U.R.E.: 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Monday to Saturday; 2 p.m. to 4
a.m. on Sunday.
Go there to find
Lure: Gold Coast matrons.
L.U.R.E.: A master.
Lure: 20,000 Leagues Under
L.U.R.E.: The Wild One.
Lure: Glass sculpture.
L.U.R.E.: Steel cage.
L.U.R.E.: Fetish and erotic-art lithographs, sketches and
paintings of men in leather by artists Leon and Ira Smith, Rex and the Hun.
Lure: No official dress code,
but owner Matthew Harriton expects the restaurant to get a “casual chic” group.
“I don’t expect T-shirts and jeans, more like jeans-and-a-blazer type of
people. That’s what we get in the Hamptons.”
L.U.R.E.: Strict dress code on Friday and Saturday nights.
Leather, rubber, uniforms of all kinds. No white sneakers, no cologne and no
Lure: Real-estate brokers taking their clients to lunch; Madison
L.U.R.E.: Plumbers, investment bankers who enjoy wearing leather,
rubber or uniforms. Women, occasionally.
Lure: The Luretini, an aqua concoction with citrus vodka, triple
sec, sour mix, a splash of orange juice, a splash of pineapple juice, fresh
lime juice and a hint of blue curaçao served with a twist.
L.U.R.E.: Rum and coke. Club
source: “People come here to meet each other, they don’t come here to have
Lure: $8 to $12.
L.U.R.E: “Chub Club” for big men on Thursday nights; “Foot
Friends” party on Monday night; a leather party called “Pork” on Wednesday
Good pick-up line
Lure: “Did you go to Brearley or Nightingale?”
L.U.R.E.: “Thank you, sir-may I have another?”
Lure: Swapping phone numbers.
Number of times featured in Sex and the City
L.U.R.E.: Repeatedly-Samantha’s apartment in the show is located
directly above the bar.
Lure: Undecided; to date, seems like a Jamiroquai kind of crowd.
Lure: Salt from Salt ‘n’ Pepa and New York Giants punter Rodney
L.U.R.E.: Members of the NYPD and, rumor has it, a Saudi Prince.
L.U.R.E.: Thinking of franchising.