“Sex and the Single Girl,” her grab-bag book of advice, opinion, and anecdote on why being single shouldn’t mean being sexless, made a celebrity of the 40-year-old advertising copywriter in 1962.
Three years later, she was hired by Hearst Magazines to turn around the languishing Cosmopolitan and it became her bully pulpit for the next 32 years.
She said at the outset that her aim was to tell a reader “how to get everything out of life — the money, recognition, success, men, prestige, authority, dignity — whatever she is looking at through the glass her nose is pressed against.”
“It was a terrific magazine,” she said, looking back when she surrendered the editorship of the U.S. edition in 1997. “I would want my legacy to be, ‘She created something that helped people.’ My reader, I always felt, was someone who needed to come into her own.”
Along the way she added to the language such terms as “Cosmo girl” — hip, sexy, vivacious and smart — and “mouseburger,” which she coined first in describing herself as a plain and ordinary woman who must work relentlessly to make herself desirable and successful.
She put big-haired, deep-cleavaged beauties photographed by Francesco Scavullo on the magazine’s cover, behind teaser titles like “Nothing Fails Like Sex-cess — Facts About Our Real Lovemaking Needs.”
Male centerfolds arrived during the 1970s — actor Burt Reynolds‘ (modestly) nude pose in 1972 created a sensation — but departed by the ’90s.
Within four issues, circulation, which had fallen below the 800,000 readers guaranteed to advertisers, was on the rise, even with the newsstand price increasing from 35 cents to 50 and then 60.
Sales grew every year until peaking at just over 3 million in 1983, then slowly leveled off to 2.5 million at $2.95 a copy, where it was when Brown left in 1997. (She stayed on as editor in chief of the magazine’s foreign editions.)
She was still rail-thin, 5-feet-4 and within a few pounds of 100 in either direction, as she had kept herself throughout her life with daily exercise and a careful diet.
“You can’t be sexual at 60 if you’re fat,” she observed on her 60th birthday. She also championed cosmetic surgery, speaking easily of her own nose job, facelifts and silicone injections.
LISTEN NOW: Free Diabetes Podcast Inspired by Whitney Houston http://www.blogtalkradio.com/divatalkradio1/2012/08/07/diabetes-roundtable-inspired-by-whitney-houston
What fruits and vegetables are you singing about? The happy healthcare host, Mr. Divabetic visits the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, CA.to raise awareness for diabetes in a fun, new way. Enjoy more videos on Mr. Divabetic’s YouTube channel.
Get inspired to eat more fruits and vegetables. Meet Mr. Divabetic on the red TOMATO carpet at the Divabetic- Makeover Your Diabetes outreach event in Phildelphia, PA, the American Diabetes Association Expo in Pittsburgh, PA and the Taking Control Of Your Diabetes Conferences & Health Fairs in San Diego, CA and Austin, TX in Fall 2012. Pass the boa! For more glitter, podcasts and glucose advice visit: www.divabetic.org