Helen Clark strikes iconic pose for express cover

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Helen Clark graces the cover of NZ’s LGBTI magazine, express, to celebrate her years of support for the gay community and mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage. This landmark issue is out today.

“The team at express are thrilled to have this artistic interpretation of the former Prime Minster and UN Ambassador on their cover,” says editor Oliver Hall. “Clark’s interview is one of many features in their August issue that celebrates the amazing work of a diverse range of New Zealand women and other members of the LGBTI community.”

The interview promotes Clark’s up and coming appearances as a guest speaker at Rainbow Auckland’s Charity Auction & Dinner (Sunday 9 September) and An Evening with Helen Clark, part of Auckland War Memorial Museum’s LATE series (Monday 3 September).

The August issue is the second from express’ new publishers TMO Publications Ltd, run by returning express editor Oliver Hall and business partner Matt Fistonich, who together have injected new blood into the veteran publication.

Matt Fistonich has served in the RNZAFand is a former Mr Gay New Zealand who has gone on to run the Mr Gay events in both NZ and Australia.

Oliver Hall has written for and edited express on and off for the last 15 years, as well as a number of other publications in New Zealand (Citymix), Australia (DNA, Revolver), the UK (GT, Diva) and the Middle East (Time Out Doha).

“Sending it over to Clark was nerve-racking. I was ecstatic when her assistant forwarded me an email from her that simply read, Love it!”

“Helen Clark was travelling overseas so we had no window to do a shoot for the cover,” Hall said. “Her team supplied a fairly limited selection of media images, so I felt the best option was for us to create something that could capture both the eye and the imagination.

“Timed with the 125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in NZ, our August issue celebrates and profiles a number of Kiwi women who are ‘kicking-ass’ in their respective fields, and I wanted to depict Clark in a classic portrait of female strength.

“It was a struggle finding the image that felt right: Frida Carlo or the Statue of Liberty lacked a Kiwi connection, and Jacinda’s face had been pasted onto Wonder Woman for so many elections memes.

“Then Matt suggested the iconic We Can Do It poster and we were away.

“Auckland artist Shane Crook mocked up a basic draft for us which we took over to our design team at Spinc Media. They felt designer Joel Amores was the man for the job.

“Joel’s first draft, however, was more of a caricature. Not particularly flattering, to me it resembled a cover The Listener might do if a Prime Minister sent a thousand Kiwi troops into a war zone.

“Feedback was given, and by draft number three we were really getting somewhere; achieving a bright, celebratory, pop-art style cover that would be loved by readers and fly off the stands.

“Sending it over to Clark was nerve-racking. I was ecstatic when her assistant forwarded me an email from her that simply read, Love it!

About express
express is a street press – it can be found in supermarkets, libraries, cafes, bars, community centres, theatres and cinemas. It’s free. The monthly sub cost for mail out is $69. Printed by PMP Ltd. Publisher is TMO Publications Ltd.

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