SEEMS LIKE EVERY FEMALE IN the state, from first lady to floozy, has graced the cover of Texas Monthly since the magazine debuted in 1973. Over the course of 361 issues, including this one, the cover has captured or mirrored the many faces of Texas women, from the traditionally feminine, such as cheerleaders and beauty queens, to the more challengingly modern, like politicians and self-made millionaires. (And yes, there have also been some unsavory types along the way: stripper, cult leader, murderer.)
Here we have resurrected fifty of our favorite covers featuring girls and women, from a wide-eyed toddler in day care to 99-year-old rancher Hallie Stillwell. You’ll also find Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and makeup magnate Mary Kay Ash. Naturally we’ve paid homage to first-ladies-in-law Laura and Barbara Bush, although our most famous cover ever showed a governor Ann Richards, who was depicted in July 1992 dressed in white leather and straddling a motorcycle. (Actually, the photo is a composite; we stuck photographer Kevin Vandivier’s head shot of Richards on a model’s body.) Besides the “White Hot Mama” shot, Richards showed up on two other TM covers for a total of three appearances, a record matched only by Selena, the tejano singer, and Anna Nicole Smith, a former Playmate and model and a perennial Bum Steer. But a larger-than-life icon trumps them all: Texas’s beloved Lady Bird Johnson has graced a quartet of covers, all since 1994.
The stars come out on a regular basis: we’ve twice featured actresses Farrah Fawcett and Sissy Spacek and singer LeAnn Rimes. But not all our leading ladies have been so famous. Over the years we’ve enlisted professional models to help sell dozens of cover stories on subjects ranging from barbecue and tequila to public education and the airline biz. Some shots are unapologetically sexy, like the generous cleavage that spills out under the words “Silicone City” on the cover about Houston’s breast-implant business (August 1995). Others are scary, like the masked “Deadly Doctor” that represented a dangerously inept San Antonio physician (April 1987). Even salt-of-the-earth good ol’ gals have made their mark on the magazine. In December 1992, for example, Jenny Glenn, of Childress, appeared on the cover to tout a story about big hair—after she sent us a snapshot of her special-occasion ‘do, a masterpiece teased and sprayed into the shape of a cowboy hat. Women like Glenn have been a priceless Texas resource since the days of the Republic, and for thirty years they have enhanced Texas Monthly. As songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey put it, “them Texas women is Texas gold.”