The latest trend in mainstream magazine publishing: showing more and more flesh.
First, Sacha Baron Cohen strips down as his naked alter ego - the flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista Brüno - for the July cover of GQ magazine (shown at right).
The actor-comedian's 2006 movie, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," was a surprise box-office hit. His new film, "Brüno," is scheduled for release July 10.
Baron Cohen staged an elaborate prank at the recent MTV Movie Awards. In character as Brüno, he descended from the ceiling on a wire in a fake mishap that ended with his bare hindquarters in rapper Eminem's face. Eminem stormed off in a huff, but later said he was in on the joke.
Now comes word that some prominent female and male athletes will drop their uniforms for the first "Body Issue" of ESPN The Magazine, slated to hit newsstands October 19. The magazine is approaching pro, amateur and Olympic athletes about posing au naturel, albeit artfully positioned or covered by sporting equipment. Their response has been enthusiastic, editor in chief Gary Belsky says. He declined to identify who has been approached. The question remains if he can pull off the issue without offending ESPN's corporate masters at The Walt Disney Company.