Candice Swanepoel's 'Maxim' Cover Introduces New Women-Friendly Era With A Face Close-Up Rather Than Bikini Shot

Candice Swanepoel has a gorgeous body. This we know from her various runway struts. But her visage is also pretty angelic. Candice Swanepoel's face graces Maxim's cover for March 2015, heralding a new, more women-friendly era for the men's mag. While your brother, or whichever males in your household subscribe to the publication, will likely miss the sexy, bikini-driven, "OMG! Look at how hot she is!" covers of yore, Maxim is seeking to expand its audience by being less like a PG-13 rated skin mag.

Will it work? Well, that remains to be seen, given Maxim's past. Besides all of the hawt chicks that filled the pages, a lot of the editorial was crazy funny. I used to read my boyfriend's copy all the time and I laughed at the quips and also marveled at the female form. There's no shame in that.

New editor Kate Lanphear actually feels the same about women's bodies in magazines, but she is making some sweeping changes and is upscaling. Will she bridge the gap? Corral a more discerning female reader?

Again, only time will reveal whether this daring overhaul succeeds or fails.

But this up close and personal shot of Swanepoel's face certainly steals your breath with its beauty. Her baby blues, her come hither stare, and the way she gingerly bites on her hair and her finger are all mile-markers of supreme sexiness, proving that being oiled up in a bikini isn't the sole way to be considered a hottie. It's one of many!

While this image, which touts the model as the most desirable woman in the world, does look a bit standardized, in terms of that which you'd see on the cover of an art mag or of women's fashion mags, the element of mystery is undeniably there. Why is Swanepoel so desirable? Well, you'll have to flip through the pages to find out. The answer is not given away in a sultry, full-body cover shot.

I'd say that Swanepoel has a heart of gold, too, since her jeans line helps benefit HIV-positive mothers in her native Africa. And there are also other suggestive and amazing shots of the model in the spread. So there are layers to this new era of Maxim, but readers (of ALL genders) can still gawk at gorgeous women if they so choose.

In her editor's letter for the issue, Lanphear addressed the changes she had to make, but her specific reference to the Swanepoel cover reveals her intentions in her new role and can be the basis for which subscribers decide to cancel or renew.

She wrote, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s also in the eye of the beheld. If you’re not sure what I mean, spend a minute looking at our cover image of the irresistible Ms. Swanepoel, shot by legendary photographer Gilles Bensimon. Sweet, playful, and confident in her own skin — and stripped of excess makeup or retouching — she is a perfect choice to kick off a whole new chapter for Maxim."

The EIC also noted in her letter that her job is a tough one, given the digital age, and that she is aiming high, writing, "...reimagining the U.S.'s most widely read men's magazine for an era when glossy pages are increasingly being upstaged by smartphones, and silicone-filled pinups have ceded the limelight to a more authentic, self-possessed — if no less gorgeous — generation of women."

Lanphear knows she is competing for the attention of men and those who are constantly plugged in, so perhaps that's why she chose to go so artful with the Swanepoel cover.

It's certainly a challenge, but I think she's up for it.

Images: Maxim (1); Giphy (2)