My favorite picture is the very first, showing Shannon Marie in red, amidst the grass, with such a serene expression. It's as close to a vision of Paradise as I can imagine; a goddess lying in the Elysian Fields.
For me, the most telling exchange in the interview is the bit about magazines and diet ads:
HSG:How did you come up with the wonderful policy to never, ever run diet ads of any kind?
MICHELE: Itís wasnít appropriate.
HSG: So you werenít tempted by the money? Iím sure they would have offeredó
MICHELE: Sure, but it wasnít appropriate.
HSG: They would have driven dump trucks full of money to yours doors!
MICHELE: But it wasnít appropriate.
HSG: But thatís so right. Why doesnít everyone realize that?
MICHELE: No, it wasnít appropriate.
HSG: Thatís so right, and so obviously right, to everyoneóto MODE, to full-figured women, to the men who admire themóso why doesnít everyone in the fashion industry realize this?
MICHELE: Well, because they want to make money. For us, it was just not appropriate. Itís not appropriate. You donít do that. God, you just donít go there, because it makes women feel the one thing that we never wanted anyone to feelóand that was, that they werenít okay.
With the repeated questions, it's like the interviewer was testing Ms. Weston to see if she would budge on this point (and hoping that she wouldn't). But her resolve in her position - that diet ads are not appropriate
- tells you everything you need to know about why MODE was so great. Yes, the magazine was in it to make money, but it also had fundamental beliefs and principles that it wouldn't compromise.
Unlike the so-called "love your body" editions of mainsteam magazines (which usually do more harm than good), MODE sent a clear message, not a mixed message. It understood that presenting a positive viewpoint means not only promoting the good, but also keeping out the bad. What MODE (wisely) kept out of its pages was just as important to its success as what was in it.
Any plus-size magazine that runs diet ads is a sell-out (as is any model who appears in one). It betrays the very women who comprise a magazine's readership, because (as Michele says) such ads make readers feel that they aren't okay. MODE, on the other hand, wanted them to know that they were gorgeous just the way they were. And that's why it remains such a beloved publication.