Selecting who goes on the cover of Cigar Aficionado is a task we take quite seriously. The cover image is the flag we fly on newsstands, and the person (or people) we put on that cover becomes our ambassador for two months. With only six issues a year, there aren't many opportunities to be on our cover.
The ideal candidate is someone who enjoys fine cigars. Sometimes our cover subjects puff on occasion, and once in a while we find someone who smokes cigars as often (and with as much passion) as we do.
Inspiration comes in all forms. We seek out many people. Others seek us out. Some we know. And there are those whom we pursue aggressively. The man on the cover of the issue you are reading—Steve Harvey—came to us in the strangest fashion of all: via another magazine that no one would ever confuse with Cigar Aficionado.
We came across a video posted on People's Facebook page last summer, made when Harvey was due to appear on the June 6 cover of that magazine. Harvey and his wife, Marjorie Bridges-Woods, are seen giving a tour of their palatial house in Atlanta. As they show off a grand outdoor kitchen, Harvey mentions cigars. "Usually this is happening with a cigar," he says. Soon, he's puffing away on one. He talks about cigars again and again throughout the video and takes the viewer on a tour of his closet, which is loaded with golf clubs, plenty of clothes and an array of humidors brimming with his favorite smokes, Cuban and non-Cuban alike.
And then came the line that we couldn't ignore, uttered without his trademark smile, his brow furrowed and his attitude clearly one of disappointment:
"Can't get on the cover of Cigar Aficionado," he mutters.
We had put Steve Harvey on the inside of the magazine in August 2005. Never on the cover. His people had reached out recently, but it just didn't work out. Now the man was spending his time being interviewed by another magazine, but lobbying to be on the cover of ours.
It was time.
Harvey is a busy man, hosting several TV and radio shows and crisscrossing the United States to keep up with his schedule. Cigars are his constant companion. He made headlines in January when he met with President Donald J. Trump (who was then president-elect), when he was asked to lend a hand with problems facing America's inner cities.
Harvey is a man of wealth and fame today, and he owes his success to a great leap of faith he made many years ago when he quit his job after winning a comedy competition. He was so enamored of being on stage and making people laugh that he left a paying job behind after winning all of $50. No one but his father believed in him, and times were so lean at one point that he was living in his car and bathing in public pools. His story of extraordinary drive and success begins on page 48.
So Steve Harvey, welcome to the Cigar Aficionado cover club. You've earned it.