Pregnant women are viewed much differently today than they were in the past, even 30 years ago. Originally, the word ‘pregnant’ wasn’t allowed to be said on television. Lucile Ball was the first woman to write her pregnancy into the plot line of her show. It is said that there was a team of clergymen who oversaw the writing process to ensure that no boundaries were crossed. It was a highly criticized episode at the time and when looking back now, it seemed so innocent. With time, tolerances changed, from restrictive garments like the corset, in the 1800’s, to over-sized tent dresses in the 1980’s, women were seemingly forced to conceal their bodies during pregnancy.
Nowadays, It seems we rely heavily on public figures and celebrities to break down the barriers of the “social norm.” Though, not without facing backlash, public ridicule and scrutiny, themselves. Once the gate was opened by Demi Moore in 1991, many more brave celebrities have decided to ditch their expensive clothes in favor of bare skin for their pregnancy cover shoots. Even still surrounded by criticism, these women have paved the way for change, regarding the everyday pregnant woman and the way they are viewed within society. Though these celebs are likely airbrushed, you can’t help but be inspired by their courage to bare it all at such a vulnerable time.
10. Nia Long- Ebony November 2011
At 40 years of age, Nia Long was told that she would have difficulty conceiving another child. Upon hearing this information, her and Ime Udoka (her at the time boyfriend) assistant-coach for the San Antonio Spurs, decided to leave their fate up to God and shortly after, to their surprise, she became pregnant. Long had a son, then 11, from a previous relationship. One might agree that her desire to take this cover shoot was a reflection of her happiness and joy of falling pregnant.
9. Jessica Simpson – Elle April 2012
The resemblance to Demi Moore’s cover of 1991 is almost uncanny. Even the ring she bares on her breast covering hand is strikingly similar. Apparently, the nude cover was Simpson’s own idea. An idea that turns out, even though it is hardly a new thing to do, was offensive to shoppers at a Safeway store in Tuscon, Arizona. The Arizona Daily star reported that the cover was turned around or covered up by cardboard. This star, who is usually modest and demure, held a higher level of confidence while at her heaviest. After all, motherhood is extremely important to the fashion forward star. She is said to be worried that her daughter will be more interested in Nikes than Christian Louboutins.
8. Mariah Carey- Life & Style April 2011
Mariah Carey, then 42 years old, was due to give birth to her babies within a few weeks, and in April 2011 at 1:30 am she started her photo shoot with Life & Style magazine. The night before, she had been having contractions five minutes apart. Carey told the magazine, “I was feeling very vulnerable about taking pictures at all right now, but then I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to document this once-in-a-lifetime experience.” At one time, Mariah Carey’s age alone would have been subjected to criticism. One could have even criticized her marriage to Nick Cannon, 10 years younger than her. Instead, because of the up-rise in the popularity of nude maternity photos, there is seemingly little controversy to find.
7. Miranda Kerr- W December 2010
At 27 years old, Miranda Kerr posed naked, six and a half months pregnant for W magazine. She was then married to Orlando Bloom, 33. There was speculation that she was pregnant after they were married in a surprise July ceremony. The cover exposes more than just her pregnant belly, she also exposed her breasts, which brings on the controversial question, is it art or not? The Victoria Secret model accustomed to baring a lot of skin, but not in this manner. Even though the model was popular at the time, she was no where near the celebrity status of the other famous mothers who posed for their respective covers. Needless to say, after the magazine hit shelves there was an incredible leap in her popularity.
6. Claudia Schiffer- Vogue June 2010
Claudia Schiffer was 9 months pregnant with her third child when she posed for the 13th time on the cover of Vogue in 2010. Karl Lagerfeld, a long time fan, was the photographer of the shoot. The Vogue issue was an edition for Germany and the theme for the edition them was A Celebration of Femininity. Schiffer was photographed by other photographers as well, including Ellen von Unwerth who discovered the model, all to capture their own unique ideal of Schiffer. Though a relatively unoriginal pose, the image is still evoking. Schiffer insisted that pregnancy is great because she is able to induldge. It was nearly twenty years to the month since Schiffer had graced the cover for the first time.
5. Christina Aguilera-Marie Claire January 2008
Not a newcomer to showing her skin, Christina Aguilera posed for Marie Claire in November of 2007, even though the magazine didn’t hit shelves until December. The cover shows a picture of her in just a jean jacket and inside she bares it all. The seemingly, all-out-there Aguilera, was surprisingly quiet about her pregnancy, the news came through the slip up of Paris Hilton, while at an MTV- VMA party. Aguilera is said to have kept the pregnancy quiet as to not worry her fans while she was finishing up the Back to Basics tour.
4. Britney Spears- Bazaar August 2006
After having her first child, Sean Preston, in September of 2005, Britney Spears exposed more than just her 6 month pregnant belly for the August 2006 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Photographs were taken by Alexi Lubomirski. As a star who often appeared in less clothing than a mother figure would be pictured in, Spears was shockingly elegant in these photos. Instead of raunchy, bad girl images, inside there are photos of her holding Sean Preston over her belly in a long black gown. On the cover she is wearing a jeweled necklace, sitting cross legged she appears simple, maternal and seemingly has it all together. Sadly, a few months later she filed for divorce. Approximately six months after the photo shoot Spears shaved her head and checked into a rehab facility.
3. Monica Bellucci- Vanity Fair July 2004
The sultry, vuluptuous, Monica Bellucci was pregnant with her first child, Deva, with french actor, Vincen Cassel. The pair had a second daughter in 2010, Léonie. The actress is well known for her part in The Matrix Reloaded. She was 39 at the time of the photo shoot and is said to have posed nude to protest Italian law. The law stated that unless a woman was married, she could not seek medical assistance in conceiving a child. Bellucci and Cassel announced their split in August 2013.
2. Cindy Crawford- W June 1999
Cindy Crawford, arguably one of the original supermodels, posed nude for Michael Thompson on the cover of W magazine, for the June 1999 edition. She was pregnant with her first son, Presley. Crawford was another pioneer in the baring all pregnancy shoot. With the caption reading “Move over, Demi” it was no secret where the inspiration for the pose derived from. As a supermodel, Crawford was no amateur when it came to posing provocatively. In 1995, she was rated by Forbes magazine as the highest paid model on the planet.
1. Demi Moore- Vanity Fair 1991
The seemingly original controversial nude maternity cover celebrity was, none other than, Demi Moore. In 1991, Moore was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Vanity Fair. In the photo she is nude and 7 months pregnant with her and ex-husband Bruce Willis’, daughter, Scout. Her pose is confident, elegant and full of life. The critics, however, went so far as to call the image vulgar, grotesque and pornographic. While some new-stands refused to carry the magazine, others actually stocked it in with the porno magazines. Moore stated that, originally, the photos were not meant to be published and she had photo shoots with Leibovitz. Moore also insisted that she felt very strongly that the image was as family oriented as she could be.