The October issue, available on newsstands from tomorrow (2 September), has been designed to be model and celebrity-free, from the fashion and beauty spreads, to a naked body-confidence photo shoot in the health section.
It heralds a change in editorial stance for the monthly women’s glossy, which will continue to have real women on the cover from now on, although from the November issue, celebrity and professional models will still be included within the magazine.
Essentials editor Jules Barton-Breck said the decision was a direct response to reader opinion: "In our recent reader survey, 70% told us that they would rather see a real woman on the cover of a magazine than a celebrity, so we’re excited to be the first magazine in the UK to do this every month."
The 10 October cover stars, who represent "all shapes, sizes and ages", were crowdsourced via a social media campaign in which readers had to state why they were ‘amazing enough’ to appear on the front cover.
A casting was then set up from the shortlist of women, for the editor and style director to select who should go forward. For future issues, women can apply to be a cover star via Facebook by submitting a 150- word description of themselves, plus two colour photographs.
IIka Schmitt, Essentials' publisher, said: "Celebrating our readers by putting them on the cover is a brave move, but it just feels right for Essentials."
The October issue will be promoted with advertising across sister IPC titles Marie Claire, Woman and Ideal Home, together with continuing social media activity on Facebook and Twitter.
Essentials magazine, which launched in 1988 and is billed as IPC's "practical lifestyle monthly for modern, suburban women", recorded an increase of 12.9% year on year in the latest ABCs to 115,432 copies.