TODAY | April 22, 2014
>>> "people" magazine releases its 25th annual most beautiful issue tomorrow. and we will reveal the cover exclusively right here on "today." to get you ready, a look at a tradition, a quarter century in the making. 25 years of beautiful . michelle pfeiffer was the first. gwyneth paltrow the most recent. julia roberts received the honor a record four times. in 2003 , halle berry became the first african-american to be named the most beautiful . three men have also graced the cover. mel gibson in 1996 . tom cruise in 1997 . and leonardo dicaprio in 1998 . so, who will be this year's most beautiful person in the world? jess cagle is "people's" editorial director. thanks for being here. beauty is in the eye of the beholder . so what goes on behind the scenes when you pick the cover?
>> a lot of arguing. there's a lot of arguing for a long time. but we look around at who's hot. we look around at who our audience likes. but ultimately, it's a gut decision. who is the most -- you want to surprise people, but you also want people to agree with you. you also want people to argue about it. you just try to find someone who's going to capture the guys and feels right.
>> only three men have been on the cover so far. i didn't know that, mel gibson 1996 , tom cruise '97, leonardo dicaprio 1998 . are you shutting out the fellows? what's going on?
>> i don't know why those three guys were on the cover. because when the issue launched in 1990 , the editor at the time, lanny jones, decided they wanted a counterpart to sexiest man alive . they also wanted to start introducing color photography into "people" magazine, because at the time, "people" only used black and white photographs. so they launched this big photo-driven issue and it was meant as a counterpart to sexiest men alive. so it has traditionally been women. i think when tom and mel and leo were all on, they were just so hot that you couldn't deny that they were the most beautiful people in the world.
>> who's going to argue with leo slipping through the cracks? not me.
>> it's mostly women.
>> last year's covergirl, cover model was gwyneth paltrow . social media lit up. so many opinions. so many people felt she didn't deserve it. she is a person that creates reaction no matter what she does. what do you think when people disagree so strongly?
>> i think with social media the last couple of years, i think that every single choice you make is now going to seem like there are so many haters out there and so many people that disagree, because those people who do disagree have the ability to share their feelings in such a huge way. there was a huge outcry when we did bradley cooper on sexiest man alive instead of ryan gosling one year.
>> yeah, so they get very vocal. gwyneth is very polarizing. her detractors were very vocal, but it sold very well.
>> i think people that support gwyneth may just not be as loud.
>> interesting, julia roberts graced the cover four times. do you put a cap on how many times a celebrity can appear?
>> no. julia roberts will no doubt be back again --
>> as she deserves it.
>> she deserves to be on as much as she wants. sometimes you look at who sells. so clearly, she sells.
>> oh, so that's the formula, too. who will sell.
>> well, you know, i care about that, yeah. i care about that.
>> of course you do. okay, so, we will reveal tomorrow this year's pick. you want to give me a hint? nobody's watch -- well, just millions of people are watching.
>> i'm sure that nbc's really happy to hear you say that, tamron. i will say it's a woman. that narrows it down. she's never been on before.
>> what are you waiting for? that's all i'm going to say.
>> jess. give us one more. come on.
>> she's beautiful .
>> she's beautiful , tamron. so beautiful .
>> all right, you've got the hook in me. jess will be back with us tomorrow for the exclusive reveal of this year's cover. and we want to know who you'd pick. share your choices with the #orangeroom. hmm. now let's go over to matt. he's across the street.