There’s a reason why most celebrity pictures in magazines look flawless, and it has very little to do with their secret diets or beauty regimens. We’re often led to believe that their sculpted bodies and perfect skin are what they truly look like when really, certain parts of them are warped or digitally enhanced. This can range from smoother hair and a straighter nose to a tiny waist and perfectly toned legs. But in many cases, we’ve seen these Photoshop edits get so out of hand that the celebrities end up looking unrecognizable.
It’s ridiculous that photographers and publications would go to such lengths to change a person’s appearance because 99 percent of the time, it’s completely unnecessary. It sends the message that people should aim to fit modern society’s standards of beauty when in reality, beauty comes in all shapes, shades, and sizes. It’s no wonder why these brave celebs decided to call out publications for excessively photoshopping their photos:
In 2015, Modeliste Magazine released a retouched photo of Zendaya, which made her appear a lot thinner than she really is. She called the magazine out on Instagram and released the original photo, talking about the importance of self-love.
She said: “Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19 year old hips and torso quite manipulated. These are the things that make women self-conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it.” The magazine soon agreed to pull down and replace the altered image.
17. Kerry Washington
This happened to Kerry not once, but twice. In 2013, she appeared on the cover of Lucky Magazine, and it left everyone scratching their heads because she looked nothing like herself. Her features were so distorted it’s tough to pinpoint what they did. But then the same thing happened again when she appeared on the cover of Adweek in 2016. Her face was altered so much that she was barely recognizable (it appears that a lot of work was done on her nose and forehead). On Instagram, Kerry explained that while she was excited about the opportunity, she was “taken aback” by the magazine’s cover.
She wrote: “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.”
16. Iskra Williams
In 2017, this plus-sized model posted throwback pics from an old photoshoot, where she was so photoshopped that she didn’t even look like herself.
She captioned the pic: “You might be wondering who that random blonde girl is. Well, it’s me! About 6/7 years ago. I might look different because I was a few dress sizes smaller but the main difference is… I’m HEAVILY retouched… 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.”
15. Emily Ratajkowski
Model Emily Ratajkowski was extremely disappointed when she saw that Madame Figaro, a French magazine, Photoshopped her lips and breasts to look smaller. She shared her original photo and a powerful body-positive message on Instagram.
She said: “Everyone is uniquely beautiful in their own ways. We all have insecurities about the things that make us different from a typical ideal of beauty. I, like so many of us, try every day to work past those insecurities. I was extremely disappointed to see my lips and breasts altered in photoshop on this cover. I hope the fashion industry will finally learn to stop trying to stifle the things that make us unique and instead begin to celebrate individuality.”
The singer never called out a specific publication or mentioned where she discovered her photos. However, she did share that she is proud of her flaws, suggesting that she’s not a big fan of retouching.
On Twitter, she wrote: “I find this curious – two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. Remember flaws are ok :-)”
13. Inma Cuesta
This Latina actress was not happy to see the extensive edits made to her body and skin on the cover of El Periódico.
On Instagram, she said: “I do not understand the need to retouch my body, taking away half of me in the process, to smooth out my skin and to lengthen my neck so as to convert me into an expressionless doll. This is not the first time this has happened, but this is going too far and I feel ashamed. The photograph on the right was taken with my phone from the computer at the shoot, entirely me, with no smoke or mirrors, just Inma.”
12. Ashley Benson
In 2013, Ashley posted this picture of a Pretty Little Liars poster to Instagram, where the girls are changed so much that they look more like dolls (which might have actually been the point knowing some of the stuff that goes down in the world of PLL). But Ashley wasn’t posting this photo to promote her new season. In fact, she was critiquing how Photoshopped the pic looked.
She said: “Saw this floating around…. hope it’s not the poster. Our faces in this were from 4 years ago … and we all look ridiculous. Way too much photoshop. We all have flaws. No one looks like this. It’s not attractive.” We couldn’t agree more.
11. Troian Bellisario
Ashley’s PLL costar Troian Bellisario shared the same sentiment about the Photoshopped poster. She posted the same photo and commented: “Wow @itsashbenzo I couldn’t agree more. Very cool concept as always. But aren’t we attractive enough women as we are? Why can’t we just look like us. Once.” That’s the same thing we’d like to know.
10. Kate Winslet
The star of Titanic was so upset about this magazine cover that not only did she released a statement slamming the publication, but she went forward including a “no retouching” clause to several of her contracts. GQ’s editor, Dylan Jones, admitted to digitally altering Kate’s images after she approved the original ones. So uncool.
Regarding the Photoshopped cover, she said: “The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly I don’t desire to look like that. I actually have a Polaroid that the photographer gave me on the day of the shoot… I can tell you they’ve reduced the size of my legs by about a third. For my money it looks pretty good the way it was taken.” Tell ’em!
9. Lady Gaga
When she went on stage to accept her award at Glamour’s 2013 Women of the Year Awards, she used the opportunity to speak out against her airbrushed cover, as well as how harmful this type of excessive retouching can be for readers.
She said: “I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft,” said the star. “I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning… I don’t even look like this… It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers… When the covers change, that’s when culture changes.” YES!!
8. Kourtney Kardashian
Just a week after Kourtney gave birth to Mason, OK! Magazine released a cover photo that was heavily Photoshopped to make her look thinner. They also claimed to have done an exclusive with her when in reality, she never met with them. She tweeted: “One of those weeklies got it wrong again… they didn’t have an exclusive with me. And I gained 40 pounds while pregs, not 26.”
In one of her interviews, she also claimed that “They doctored and Photoshopped my body to make it look like I have already lost all the weight, which I have not.” The magazine never commented or apologized.
7. Kim Kardashian
In this case, rather than trying to tweak her body image, OK! Magazine altered Kim’s clothes… which is weird because original outfit looked just fine. The reality star immediately voiced her frustration on Twitter and shared the Photoshopped pic.
She tweeted: “BTW tabloid…please don’t photoshop my clothes! If they photoshop my clothes who knows what else they tweak.” Fair enough!
6. Nicki Minaj
Nicki posted the photo attached photo and simply captioned it “When retouching goes wrong.” Then, she went on to share a couple of the original photos from the shoot and said: “I love my personal unretouched photos where my forehead doesn’t mysteriously grow in length.”
ESPN magazine, however, denied Photoshopping her photo. They said: “While we occasionally make minor visual and cosmetic adjustments to cover images, we do not significantly change a person’s unique physical characteristics. The forehead Ms. Minaj walked in with is the one on the cover and we’re thrilled she participated.” …Yeah, we call BS. Her forehead is clearly not that big in real life.
5. Andy Roddick
Men’s Fitness featured a super buff version of tennis player Andy Roddick back in 2007. After Andy jokingly called out the magazine, they admitted to digitally enhancing his arms.
“Little did I know I have 22-inch guns and a disappearing birthmark on my right arm,” he said. “I saw the cover for the first time when I landed in Rome. It was pretty funny. Maybe Rafael Nadal wants his arms back?”
4. Priyanka Chopra
In 2016, Priyanka’s fans called out Maxim India for Photoshopping her armpit on their magazine cover. They made it look like she didn’t have one, so the actress responded by sharing a photo on social media of herself showing off her armpits.
On Twitter, she captioned her pic: “Here’s another ‘pit-stopping’ picture to add to the debate. #WillTheRealArmpitPleaseStandUp #nofilter #armpitdiaries.” We love that she found humor in the situation! But still, that edit was so unnecessary.
3. Rumer Willis
In 2016, Rumer called out Vanity Fair for Photoshopping her jawline to make it look smaller. She went on to explain that this was a “form of bullying” and even requested that her fans take the pic down.
In her status, she said: “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.”
2. Solange Knowles
Whoever altered Solange’s hair for the London Evening Standard clearly never heard her song, “Don’t Touch My Hair.” The magazine decided to edit out the elaborate, spherical braid that was on top of her head. And understandably, Solange was not happy about it.”
On Instagram, she posted the original picture and captioned it “dtmh,” referencing her own song. But she wasn’t the only one who was upset about it. Even the reporter who worked on the story requested that her byline be removed because, in addition to editing Solange’s photo, the editors made tons of unnecessary edits to the piece itself. The magazine was later forced to issue an apology.
1. Lupita Nyong’o
When Grazia magazine Photoshopped Lupita’s hair out of her cover photo, she took to Instagram to explain the importance of portraying people as they are and expressed her disappointment, including the popular acronym for Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair.”
She wrote: “I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh”