Men’s Health has dropped its traditional model with a six pack and put a celebrity on its cover for the first time in its eight-year history.
England’s World Cup-winning fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson, is pictured on the front, right, followed by an eight-page feature inside. The move is part of a concerted effort by new editor Morgan Rees to boost the title’s celebrity coverage.
In what has been claimed is his “only magazine interview” since he won the Webb Ellis trophy, Wilkinson talks about the final and turning down £1m to pose for Hello! Rees said there were no plans to use a celebrity cover star on every issue but there would be an increased number of celebrity interviews. “This doesn’t herald the launch of celebrity covers; it just heralds the beginning of trying to find faces and bodies and attitudes we think Men’s Health readers will identify with. Jonny Wilkinson is perfect for us because he epitomises what Men’s Health is about.
“We were really pleased that he did it because he shies away from publicity, but the way he looks and the way he approaches life is endemic of the way our readers approach their bodies and their lives.”
Rees has made several changes since he joined Men’s Health from Maxim in June. He has tweaked the design and introduced new sections, Personal Trainer and Vital Signs, along with making two appointments.
The interview with Wilkinson was conducted by new commissioning editor Dan Rookwood, who joined from The Guardian a few weeks ago.
Paul Anderson, ex-Jack, Esquire and The Independent on Sunday, has also come on board as photo director, replacing Rupert Nightingale, who left to set up his own photography studio.
Rookwood took over from the title’s former commissioning editor, Alex James, who left to go travelling.
Men’s Health has 22 editions worldwide in 30 countries. The UK edition recorded a circulation of 218,000 in the latest ABCs.
By Ruth Addicott