Freeform's The Bold Type is centered on three girls working at Scarlet magazine while dealing with ups and downs in both their professional and personal lives. In the show, Scarlet has something of a reputation as an empty fashion magazine overly concerned with silly sex tips, but leading ladies Jane, Kat, and Sutton insist there's much more depth to the publication. It's a feminist magazine that tackles big issues amongst the more frivolous topics, endearing itself to readers with its advice and stories. It sounds great, but is Scarlet from The Bold Type a real magazine?
Scarlet is not, but the fictional publication bears more than a passing resemblance to the real one that inspired it: Cosmopolitan. Like Cosmo, Scarlet is a magazine marketed to women and covers topics that run the gamut from the intense to the absurd. Many of Scarlet's more ridiculous articles can feel like typical Cosmo fare; there are suggestions on stalking exes who shy away from social media, as well as headlines that could be a nod to Cosmo's rather notorious sex advice (Scarlet gives its readers, "Mount Up And Ride: From Side Saddle to Bareback, We've Got Positions Guaranteed to Make You Yee-Haw"). However, the characters insist Scarlet isn't all fluff.
For its part, Cosmo also covers a similarly wide range of topics. Though anyone flipping through its pages could find articles on fashion, beauty, and celebrity gossip, it also explores politics and current events, just like Scarlet. The similarities between the two magazines aren't all surface, either; insider tips were provided to The Bold Type by Cosmo's former editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, who also acts as an executive producer for the show.
Coles' experiences gave the series a good foundation to work off of, as well as imparting it with a little more credibility. The show borrowed some of Coles' workplace anecdotes and even used her as the inspiration for Scarlet's editor Jacqueline. Coles is now the chief content officer for Hearst Magazines, but The Bold Type isn't the only show benefitting from her time as editor-in-chief. She also stars in the reality show So Cosmo on E!, which follows real life staff members at the magazine. For those intrigued by The Bold Type's fictional take on the subject, So Cosmo could be a nice counterpoint.
Scarlet may not be a real magazine, but Cosmo's influence on it is clear.