Considering most people first heard Kim Kardashian’s name in connection to her notorious sex tape, it seems a little bit unusual that everybody would make such a big deal about her being nude in a magazine. But the new issue of W features Kardashian completely bare, and the photos have already been passed around enough to become legendary. Kardashian joins the grand tradition of famous women who disrobe for the sake of high profile magazines, and most of those have remained firmly entrenched in the annals of pop culture.
Lady Gaga, Vanity Fair
Lady Gaga is no stranger to showing a little skin (check out any number of her music videos for proof), so it wasn’t entirely shocking that she shed everything for Vanity Fair earlier this year. This is one of the few instances where the interview might have been more revealing than the photo spread, as Gaga admitted to casual cocaine use and talked quite frankly about her sexuality in the pages of the book.
Lindsay Lohan, New York
In their “Spring Fashion” issue in 2008, Lindsay Lohan stripped down to her birthday suit and re-enacted a classic Marilyn Monroe photo shoot with only a few sheer scarves to keep herself warm.
Jennifer Aniston, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone has a history of nude and nearly-nude cover subjects, but the one that really shook the planet was Aniston’s. She appeared completely stripped on the cover of the magazine during the height of “Friends”-mania and with her rear end completely exposed for the universe to gawk at.
Demi Moore, Vanity Fair
Demi Moore might just be the godmother of stars who strip for magazine covers (especially Vanity Fair), but her first nude cover was her most eye-catching. Coming off the success of “Ghost,” Moore appeared completely nude on the cover of Vanity Fair save for one key accessory: her very pregnant belly.
Britney Spears, Harper’s Bazaar
Spears has appeared scantily-clad on just about every magazine cover she has ever done, but for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, she took a cue from Moore and allowed herself to be photographed both naked and pregnant.
Serena Williams, ESPN The Magazine
For their annual “Body Issue,” ESPN The Magazine recruited a number of professional athletes to wear little more than skin. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, MMA fighter Gina Carano and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrien Peterson all participated, but the true headliner was superstar tennis sensation Serena Williams.
Beth Ditto, NME
In one of the boldest naked-on-the-cover initiatives in history, the British music weekly NME featured the Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto, a plus-sized performer who has helped to make it safe for big girls everywhere.