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Behind The Pages Of Teen People

by Antoinette Mullins
Photos by Teen People


Drew Barrymore's colorful capri pants are encased in the walls, past the heavy security of a tall midtown office building and up 24 floors. No, this is not some kind of celebrity vault. These are the offices of Teen People, one of the best selling teen magazines in the country. This is the place where all the celebrities come just to be featured between the pages and their tour is where we finally get a glimpse of what goes on behind them.

Celebrities are not roaming the long winding halls on this February afternoon, the day of our tour. Instead, we are welcomed by their blown up covers hanging off the walls. N'SYNC, The Backstreet Boys and Destiny's Child are only a small portion of the covers published over the years.

The conference room, where the mechanisms of Teen People are broken down, also has its walls covered with approximately 4ft x 2ft covers. One of four covers of Britney Spears stares at you wherever you sit. Of the two sides of the magazine, this is the editorial side, also known as where all the fun happens. Right outside the door, in seemingly millions of cubicles, is where all the celebrity interviews are put together and all of the entertainment news is delivered. This is where the entire magazine comes together, producing the heart of entertainment and news for the young generation.

When you get past all the covers and huge posters bedecked by thousands of signatures, the office seems almost normal. White cubicles line the office area; empty hallways, conference rooms, and the sounds of typing stimulate your senses. Then, as you get closer, there is a surging of beauty product samples crowding one cubicle, tons of CDs demand the space of another and, of course, the star association is even more apparent as pictures of actors and musicians with their arms around staff members grace the work spaces, as well.

The second side of Teen People may not be considered as entertaining. The business side of the magazine deals in all of their advertisements. The Cover Girl, Ralph Lauren and the Loreal ads you may see as soon as you open the book are all the result of brainchildren from the left side's winding walkways and cubicles. The fish bowl, an office with walls made of glass and fishes pasted up, is the main site of almost all the advertisement editing. The second you get near this office, the feeling is different; it is almost deadly silent, a clear sign of any hard working business. However, this feeling fades as you turn the corner and walk down the halls, entering the web charged offices of TeenPeople.com. Finally, the conservatism of the business part of Teen People is gone. Balloons cover one door and another proudly displays the sticker "Bubble Wrap Is My Favorite Release."

Back in the conference room it is clear that Teen People is not only a magazine that feeds informational and entertainment to their audience. They also gladly welcome what their readers have say; more or less they provide a medium in delivering the voice of teenagers. On the walls of the conference room, beside all the enlarged covers, that voice speaks with a banner of a white hand holding a black hand and the message "Put your fist to a better use" underneath it.

The actual articles and messages that are presented in the Teen people magazine are not always represented through their tours. In the March 2002 issue, there is a story covering teens fighting in the Afghanistan war, voices from afar finding their way into the nationwide popular magazine. The April 2002 issue includes a section entitled "20 Teens Who Will Change The World" (our own editor-in-chief, Danya Steele, is featured). Our tour guide even makes a distinct point of showing that all the models for Teen People (excluding advertisements) are regular teens themselves. This is the part of the magazine that is not shown through the extremely celebrity hyped tour. The part that does not deal with the confusing maze that is Hollywood and instead deals with the actual issues that are important to teens.

For More Info...
Check out Teen People Online

or Read Danya's Memoir on being honored in Teen People


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