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of a magazine
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...
refers to a gatefold
A gatefold is a type of fold used for advertising around a magazine or section, and for packaging of media such as vinyl records.- LP covers :...
ed spread, usually a portrait
thumb|250px|right|Portrait of [[Thomas Jefferson]] by [[Rembrandt Peale]], 1805. [[New-York Historical Society]].A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness,...
such as a pin-up or a nude
Nudity is the state of wearing no clothing. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations and social considerations...
, inserted in the middle of the publication, or to the model featured in the portrait. In saddle-stitched magazines (as opposed to those that are perfect-bound), the centerfold does not have any blank space cutting through the image.
The term was coined by Hugh Hefner
Hugh Marston "Hef" Hefner is an American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.-Early life:...
, founder of Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...
magazine. The success of the first issue of Playboy
has been attributed in large part to its centerfold: a nude of Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s....
. The advent of monthly centerfolds gave the pin-up a new respectability, and helped to sanitize the notion of "sexiness". Being featured as a centerfold could lead to film roles for models, and still occasionally does today.
Early on, Hefner required Playboy
centerfolds to be portrayed in a very specific way, telling photographers in a 1956 memo that the "model must be in a natural setting engaged in some activity 'like reading, writing, mixing a drink'...[and]... should have a 'healthy, intelligent, American look—a young lady that looks like she might be a very efficient secretary or an undergrad at Vassar
Vassar College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, in the United States. The Vassar campus comprises over and more than 100 buildings, including four National Historic Landmarks, ranging in style from Collegiate Gothic to International,...
.'" Hefner later said that the ideal centerfold is one in which "a situation is suggested, the presence of someone not in the picture"; the goal was to transform "a straight pinup into an intimate interlude, something personal and special."
Though the term has become linked in the public consciousness with erotic material or models, many other magazines such as Life
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...
and National Geographic
have published fold-out spreads on other subjects.