Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks Cover W Magazine

Julia Roberts Tom Hanks W Magazine June 2011 cover
Photo courtesy of W magazine
Reunited: Julia Roberts collars co-star Tom Hanks for W's June issue.

What a get: W magazine’s June cover stars former Charlie Wilson's War cast mates Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, who reunite in the upcoming dramedy Larry Crowne. The issue also marks the first W with a specific beauty theme.

As Stefano Tonchi writes in his editor’s letter, Roberts synthesizes a modern idea of beauty, with her chestnut hair, curves, and down-to-earth outlook. Tonchi believes “as a 43-year-old mother of three, she’s perhaps even more representative of what America considers a pretty woman.”

For the cover, Roberts wears a Dolce & Gabbana dress with inky lace sleeves and a wide Burberry belt.

The accompanying photos have a pensive glamour—no blinding Roberts smile but instead black-and-white shots that emphasize her strong cheekbones and mile-long legs.

For one image, she’s cinched into a corset by What Katie Did; in another, she lounges in a soft Valentino gown with a lace-up bodice and leather ruffles. She was styled by another leggy dame, designer L’Wren Scott.

In her interview, Roberts discusses fame past and present, as well as her recent learning curves thanks to Hanks.

Playing a junior-college teacher in Larry Crowne, Roberts faced her first college classroom experience. She confesses, “The first time I had to speak in front of a classroom, I was apoplectic … It was very hard—it was terrible, in fact.”

Other lessons have been more easygoing. After meeting a musician at one of Hanks’s dinner parties, for instance, she embarked on piano lessons with her children. She also championed the film Biutiful for the Academy Awards. “I was the loudmouth on that … it’s fun to throw your weight around,” she notes.

Thinking back to her fame after Pretty Woman, Roberts describes it as relatively manageable: “Before e-mail, you could decide how you wanted to be, how you wanted to define yourself.”

The idea of self-presentation gets another spin elsewhere in the issue, where actress Scarlett Johansson is transformed into a series of classic film stars, from Marlene Dietrich to Buster Keaton.

Julia Roberts W Magazine June 2011

Photo courtesy of W magazine

High marks: Roberts trades the classroom for couture.

Interspersed with these head-turners are several beauty articles with sprightly twists. Beauty director Jane Larkworthy explained to FashionEtc the magazine’s evolving editorial approach to the heady subject.

“There is often news in the beauty world that is best told with a humorous twist. Sometimes that humor is used to convey a serious message—such as the risks of too much plastic surgery—but if it’s written in an engaging way, we know the underlying message will stay with our reader,” she says.

One article that exemplifies her fresh take is “What the Doctors Order,” in which three dermatologists of varying ages reveal what they do to their own skin. “Don’t we all want to know what they trust their own skin to?” asks Larkworthy.

“We want our readers to feel like they’ve had a little conversation with our experts, but more in a sharing-a-cab-ride kind of way,” she adds.

Until we end up in a taxi with a chatty, renowned derm, we’ll happily listen in.

The June issue of W magazine hits newsstands May 24.

In related fashion news, see who landed Vogue's June cover.