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If Swift’s a different kind of Maxim girl, than that’s because this is a whole new Maxim. New editor-in-chief Kate Lanphear’s been busy reinventing the magazine, and that includes Maxim’s infamous Hot 100 list. Not only did Lanphear rename it the Hot List, she broadened the coverage. Instead of just a list of models and actresses, the Hot List now includes travel, music, movies, food, and more. And Lanphear, who worked in Elle’s fashion’s department for years and came to Maxim from T magazine, says she's intent on celebrating the women of Hot List for their achievements and not just their looks.
"Taylor was my dream number one," Lanphear told Racked. "For me, Taylor’s hot in every sense of the word. Not only is she beautiful, but she’s talented and successful and continues to take the world by storm. I was determined to make sure that the Hot List issue was about everything relevant. I really wanted to redefine with the issue what the word hot meant to the brand, and there’s no one more relevant than Taylor Swift. We’re thrilled to have her as number one." If the cover photo looks familiar, that's because it's a reprint of photographer Thomas Whiteside's photo from Wonderland magazine.
Lanphear thinks Swift is an embodiment of the multi-dimensional woman that the new Maxim wants to showcase. "She writes, she’s a thinker, she’s a performer, and the photograph also shows her in a new light. She’s ready to embark on this next stage of her career," Lanphear said. "She represents also the kind of women that we want to talk about. I think men’s taste have evolved and men today are attracted to women that are confident and talented and have drive. Those are all qualities that Taylor embodies."
In last year's Hot 100 feature, number one Candice Swanepoel was described as an "impossibly leggy, blue-eyed beauty." In the text of Maxim's profile this year, by contrast, Swift is described as "the world's most relevant and intriguing woman."
"There’s still 100 beautiful women we’re celebrating in the issue, but it became really evident in trying to narrow down the list that we were honing in on women with the most exciting upcoming projects," Lanphear said, adding that she sees her audience as hungry for more than just photos of models. "Our audience is interested in everything that’s hot right now. We’re really focused on building a lifestyle brand that touches on all areas of our audience’s life."
When asked if the old Hot 100 list was a relic from Maxim's lad mag past, Lanphear agreed. "It’s part of our evolution of the brand, and it’s part of the rebranding," she said. "There are things that were outdated and this is just one of them. As we’re sort of exploring and experimenting with the content in print and online, it became evident that we wanted this to be richer."
To that end, Maxim's June issue also flips the script, incorporating women's points of view. "On our back page, we asked 100 women what they think is hot. I think our audience will find that interesting. The funniest thing is that more than anything, women think it’s hot when a guy cooks. Perhaps incorporate more recipes? That answer came up a lot."