Coast fans snap up final edition of iconic women’s mag Cleo

31 Mar

By Katia Pearsall, Bond University Journalism Student

Loyal Cleo readers and those keen to preserve a glossy piece of history are among many buying the final issue of the trailblazing women’s magazine.

The Cleo magazine was axed by publisher Bauer Media Group who confirmed the magazine’s closure in late January 2016, and released the final edition this month.

Launched by Kerry Packer and Ita Buttrose in 1972, Cleo magazine was considered an edgy, and at times controversial, women’s magazine that pushed the boundaries with nude male centrefolds and sex and dating tips.

Manager of Snippets Robina Newsagency Paul Searl said he sold out of the final issue within just two weeks of the magazine hitting the stands.

“We’ve got none left – they got swooped on straight away,” Mr Searl said.

“There are always people chasing the last or the first issue of anything, but this is the quickest I’ve seen a magazine sell here.”

Mr Searl said Cleo had once been a big seller on the Gold Coast but popularity of the magazine had been slipping for some time.

“Its heyday was the ‘70s and ‘80s,” he said.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.16.45 AMCleo was hugely popular but Mr Searl said that in today’s society it had lost its relevance.

“Things like make-up and sex are talked of openly now, women are no longer hard pressed for advice, its everywhere today,” he said.

Greg Ellis from NewsXpress at Pacific Fair Mall also said his store was out of copies.

“People have been requesting it because it’s the final issue,” said Mr Ellis.

“Those who’ve been getting it for years wanted to have the last one, its momentous for some.”

The final cover featured former Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell in a recreation of the first edition that hit the stands in 1972.

Cleo posted a picture of the final cover on Instagram, farewelling “44 years of sass, bachelors, sex and centrefolds.”

“44 years never looked so good. The farewell issue of CLEO is in its last few days,” the caption read. “Thanks to @jesinta_campbell for recreating the very first Cleo cover so beautifully.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.17.16 AM.pngEditor Lucy Cousins said of the final cover: “It’s an ode to the 44 years. We didn’t want to go out with a cover that didn’t really say anything, we wanted to pay tribute to that first one.”

In an opinion piece in the Huffington Post published earlier this week, former editor and television talk show host Lisa Wilkinson shared her memories and deep respect for Cleo, labelling the publication a “true ground-breaker for women”.

Editor for 10 years from 1984, Ms Wilkinson described herself then as a young “magazine junkie” who idolised CLEO.

“What I quickly realised when I took over the role was the incredible privilege of being at the helm of a magazine that could hold its head high in the Australian media as a true ground-breaker for women,” she wrote.

Long-time subscriber of CLEO Alice Walker said she is sad to see the end of such an iconic Australian magazine.

“It’s sad news about Cleo ceasing, in the ‘80s it was the best mag Australia ever produced in my opinion,” she said.

The closure comes just three years after the story of Cleo’s birth was depicted in the hit ABC miniseries Paper Giants: The Birth Of Cleo.

A statement from Bauer magazines said the company chose to close the mag because “in its current format, Cleo was no longer sustainable for the longer term.”

Bauer said the closure of the Australian edition of Cleo would not impact Cleo Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia, which were bought by SPH Magazines in 2011.


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