Jan 2nd 2008
If you always thought there was something awkward about the image of Betcee May on the cover of the November 2006 issue of E The Environmental magazine and could never quite put your finger on it. Felt it just didn't look quite like her. It's because the image was reversed.
It wasn't until recently, looking through some old files, that I discovered a version of the original photograph shot by Bill Lemon and realized the editors of the magazine had flipped the image around. So in a sense, what you're looking at is what Betcee sees in the mirror, not how we see her.
Few people like their reflection. It's just the way we are as human beings. That's why models hate it when publishers do that. It doesn't look like them anymore, it looks like somebody else, like a reversed image of themselves, not the real thing.
What makes Betcee one of the most beautiful women in the world, is not her symmetry, it's her lack of it. It's her power and her intelligence. The quest for facial symmetry in fashion is a perversion of beauty, fueling the surgeon scalpel, destroying young women's sense of self-worth. (1) (2) (3 pdf)
So when I finally learned the image had been reversed, my heart sank, because now it made sense, why Betcee may have taken offense at the magazine taking such liberties. She never thanked anyone for putting her on the cover. Not a note, or anything. This was her first cover, it should have been a big deal, a big break for her. Bringing her to the attention of the entire green scene.
I introduced Jason Kremkau, the art director of E magazine at the time, to Bill Lemon, with a suggestion Bill recreate a more conservative version of the beautiful nudes Bill shot of Betcee in a California vineyard to illustrate the magazine's special on organic wines. Maybe I should have stayed on top of it better. Supervise the way the image was to be used, it was out of my hands.
Doug Moss, the publisher of E magazine, made the decision to flip the image so it would center better on the page. Doug didn't know Betcee's history. He didn't know she wasn't some generic model we picked for the occasion. We didn't tell him we had an ulterior motive. Jason and I, and then managing editor Brian Clark Howard, now at Hearst's The Daily Green, didn't tell Doug that Betcee was the girl who gave the Rock The Reactors campaign to shut down Indian Point a human face.
We didn't want Doug to find out Betcee was the most popular art nude model on the Internet. He would have probably nixed the idea, for fear it would offend too many readers. Doug heard about it soon enough once the magazine came out on newsstands. People started mentioning it at parties. All Doug said to me when he found out was: "Remy, good job!"
Three months later Betcee became Pet of the Month in Penthouse. But she didn't like the direction Penthouse was going. When she posed for the magazine, she had been led to beleive the new owners were going to bring Penthouse back to its former glory, with natural girls and pointed political commentary. But that wasn't to be the case. Penthouse released much harder images than she expected, with hundreds of affiliates posting them.
Penthouse never followed through on its commitment to switch over to recycled paper stock, or to become the first green men's magazine in history, disappointing Betcee. Instead Penthouse removed Betcee from their 2008 Pet of the Year playoff, replacing her with an unknown.
Rock The Reactors is gearing up participation in the Electric Highway caravan along old Route 66 to promote alternatively fueled vehicles and organic wine with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
Betcee continues her career as a successful art nude model living in Los Angeles, pursuing fashion and commercial opportunities, giving preference to green work whenever possible. She can be reached through her agency Next Models USA.
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