Over the years celebrities have begun calling out various outlets and photographers for their unrealistic portrayals of their bodies, and lately, they’ve been more outspoken than ever. Stars including Priyanka Chopra, Rumer Willis, and Zendaya have been mercilessly retouched, proving that irrespective of your frame type, a person will discover a way to photoshop you into that so-called nation of “perfection.” Here, we’ve rounded up the stars who refuse to permit themselves and their bodies to be used to create such unreal expectations. Props to them!
As someone who’s been through the retouching ringer, body-positive model Iskra Lawrence knows what she’s talking about. After living through constant photoshopping left her wanting to reach an unhealthy, impossible ideal, she says managing to overcome those ingrained insecurities changed her life for the better. Ipso facto, all of our lives improved too: Her social media presence is the most uplifting place on the web, like the post above, where she goes through a retouched photo point by point to highlight exactly what was done to distort it.
Her caption reads [all sic]: “You might be wondering who that random blonde girl is Well it’s me! About 6/7years ago. I might look different because I was a few dress sizes smaller but the main difference is… I’m HEAVILY retouched. That smooth a$$ skin? Not mine – a computer programme did that. The full thick hair – extensions. Push up bra Waist + legs + arms slimmed with a photoshop tool. No eye bags, well actually no nothing that makes me resemble the real me. And the WORST thing about it… I WANTED TO LOOK LIKE THIS!!! Yep I thought if I had ‘perfected’ images (like the ones I saw of other models) that I would book more jobs = would make me happy and successful. When in reality seeing retouched images of myself gave me even more insecurities and body image issues because I couldn’t even look like or relate to the image of myself! So please NEVER EVER compare yourself to images you see, many aren’t real. Perfect does NOT exist so trying to achieve that is unrealistic and editing your pictures will not make you happy. What’s real is YOU, your imperfectly perfect self that’s what makes you magical, unique and beautiful.”
The end result is a cheat sheet to understanding that no, no one looks like that—something that’s easy to hear, hard to believe.
Priyanka Chopra’s Maxim India cover recently came under fire due to her seemingly nonexistent armpits, and commenters quickly came to her defense by calling out the publication. To be fair, we don’t know anyone whose pits look that smooth and flawless—no matter how much lasering they’ve done.
As a result, the Quantico actress had a pretty epic response. On her Instagram, she posted: “Here is another ‘pit-stopping’ picture to add to the debate. #WillTheRealArmpitPleaseStandUp #nofilter #armpitdiaries.”
All of this makes us ask the question: Why should anyone care about what our armpits look like? Chopra doesn’t. And that’s just one more bit of proof that she’s a total boss.
Considering the lyrics to Meghan Trainor’s biggest hit “All About That Bass” (“I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop, We know that sh-t ain’t real, come on now, make it stop”), you’d think her team would have gotten the memo that body-altering is a big hell-no in her book. And yet, a few hours after the launch of her new music video for “Me Too,” Trainor realized her body had been digitally altered without her permission. So she pulled the video.
“Hey guys, I took down the ‘Me Too’ video because they photoshopped the crap out of me,” she told her fans on Snapchat. “And I’m so sick of it and I’m over it, so I took it down until they fix it.” And fix it they did. She looks awesome in the unaltered version. See for yourself:
She continued: “My waist is not that teeny, I had a bomb waist that night, I don’t know why they didn’t like my waist, but I didn’t approve that video and it went out for the world, so I’m embarrassed. The video’s still one of my favorite videos I’ve ever done, I’m very proud of it, I’m just pissed off that they broke my ribs you know?” Preach.
Rumer Willis posted the above photo on Instagram with the following note: “The photographer photoshopped my face to make my jaw smaller and I find it really offensive for anyone to try and change the way you look so drastically. I love the way I look and I won’t support anyone who would feel a need to change the way I look to make me beautiful. Whether or not they realize it, it is a form of bullying, which I won’t stand for.” Hear, hear! It’s especially disconcerting considering the body-image struggles the actress opened up about on Dancing With the Stars last year. (You can read the photographers’ comment about the issue on The Cut. In short: They said the image was corrected because of the camera lens used, not to purposely alter her features.)
Kerry Washington is (sadly) familiar with Photoshop mishaps—and speaking out about them. For her recent AdWeek cover, the Scandalstar wrote the following statement that was both celebratory of her article and honest (a mission she aimed to accomplish and did): “Look, I’m no stranger to photoshopping. It happens a lot. In a way, we have become a society of picture adjusters – who doesn’t love a filter?!? And I don’t always take these adjustments to task but I have had the opportunity to address the impact of my altered image in the past and I think it’s a valuable conversation. Yesterday, however, I just felt weary. It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It’s an unfortunate feeling.”
Zendaya isn’t one to miss a chance to stand up for something she believes in, whether it’s to dismiss her 2015 Oscars dreadlocks or to call out an overly retouched image of herself. The star shared a photo of the before-and-after pictures of a cover shoot with Modeliste magazine, and was appalled by the amount her hips and torso had been manipulated.
Magazines aren’t the only culprits of heavy-handed photoshopping, brands and advertisements are commonly guilty of this, too. Pretty Little Liars actress, Ashley Benson, and her on-air colleagues were victims of obvious retouching on a poster for the hit show. The 26-year-old publicly criticized the ad, saying: “Saw this floating around…hope it’s not the poster. Our faces in this were from four years ago…and we all look ridiculous. Way too much photo shop. We all have flaws. No one looks like this. It’s not attractive.”
Lorde isn’t your average teen, so it’s no surprise that the “Royals” singer called out retouchers for creating pristine-looking skin on an image that had previously been clearly different. Lorde went on to tell her fans that flaws are OK and to remember how easily and commonly these photos are altered.
Recently, there has been a knack for photoshopping out moles (why?!), just ask Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence has openly laughed about being photoshopped, most notably for her appearance in a fashion advertisement. “That doesn’t look like me at all! I love Photoshop more than anything in the world,” she told Access Hollywood at a red carpet event. “Of course it’s Photoshop. People don’t look like that.”