In this digital age, the media has never been so accessible. It is so easy to access information without having to leave your bed, and conversely, it is so easy for media to feed you information as well. It’s not a secret that Photoshop is pretty much an industry standard, and that most celebrity photos you see are these contrived idealized images that aren’t really a reflection of reality. But even though people may be aware that these images are digitally altered, it is still very clear that this is the world’s concept of beauty and seeing someone embody it makes some people want to strive for this unrealistic image. This is why so many people are suffering from body image issues because there are so much unrealistic and distorted images that trick people into believing this is the norm for beauty.
Celebrities are the most prone to digital manipulations. Although it has become industry standard, it is refreshing to know that there are some celebrities who recognize the dangers of this practice and are taking a stand against digital manipulation.
Here are some celebrities who have said no to photoshop, and yes to natural beauty.
Kiera Knightley has expressed her stance against photoshop on several occasions, and she’s always had a refreshingly honest stance about her body. When the King Arthur posters came out in 2004, revealing that her bust was significantly altered to appear larger, she explicitly revealed that her training for the movie has actually decreased her breast size even more. Additionally, in November 2014, she agreed to pose topless for Interview Magazine demanding that the photos be unedited so people can actually see what she really looks like. She said, “OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.”
In March 2014, Lorde tweeted a real photo of herself side-by-side a retouched photograph that was published earlier. In her tweet, she says, “i find this curious - two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. remember flaws are ok :-)” She’s also posted unretouched photos of herself on social media with acne cream on, and she’s even spoken out about other celebrities, such as Taylor Swift, who appear too flawless for young women to look up to. In an interview, Lorde has said “Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think that’s breeding anything good in young girls.”
Kate Winslet has spoken out against both photoshop and plastic surgery saying to the Telegraph in 2011 that “It goes against my morals, the way that my parents brought me up and what I consider to be natural beauty. I will never give in.” In the 2003 cover of GQ, she was dismayed to find her photograph digitally altered and said, “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.” She continues to say, “I do not look like that and, more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that. I am proud, you know.”
In her new music video for the song “Try,” Colbie Caillat decided to go make-up free to take a stand against the pressures modern women face to look perfect. According to her, “‘Try’ is written from my personal experience having so many insecurities, as people do and I think women especially do. We see people looking perfect on TV and compare ourselves to them.I remember when I was a teenager, I was so confused about how I should look, and I tried changing every single thing about myself…If girls at that age were just comfortable in their own skin it will benefit them for the future.” The song further drives the point home with lyrics like “You don’t have to change a single thing. You don’t have to try.”
In her acceptance speech for Glamour's 2013 Women of the Year Awards, she spoke out against her own Glamour cover which she felt was too heavily retouched, "I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft," said the singer. "I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning... I don't even look like this," referring to her wild wig and makeup. She continued on to challenge people “to fight back against the forces that make them feel like they're not beautiful," as well as a challenge to the media saying, “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.”
Gisele Bundchen, one of the world’s most powerful models, have been campaigning for more fashion photographers to take a more natural approach to their photographs. She had a photoshoot with BLK DNM without any make-up or hairstyling as part of her campaign. She praised the creative director for opting for the natural approach saying, "I loved his approach because I feel like women should be really real and raw and it doesn't really happen anymore. I love that feeling of, you know, we are women - we are so different. Our imperfections are what makes us unique and beautiful. He gets that. He's not trying to retouch you or put a pretty light on you. He's not like, 'You've got to look a certain way.' He's like, 'You are you.'"
It’s no surprise that the singer of the hit body-positive song “All About That Bass” is against photoshopping images to the point that it looks unrealistic. She says, “One photo was altered so I looked tanned and I was angry because I love my snow-white skin. I rock it. There are a few covers coming out that I’m frightened about. I’ve said, ‘Do you think Beyonce releases a picture she hasn’t approved?’ They shoot me down. I think they’re lying.” She says that she is proud her body-positive song is making an impact on people’s lives, “There is a study in the States that found the number of girls who hate their bodies has doubled. My three-minute song has helped a lot of people. It’s shocking that it only took a three-minute song. One father came up to me after a show and said, ‘You saved my daughter’s life.’ It’s incredible, it’s crazy. It’s been an epic year.”
Beyoncé demanded that H&M only release unaltered photographs when she was modeling the brand’s swimwear collection. She was furious when she found out that H&M intended to slim her figure. According to a source who spoke to The Sun, "'when Beyonce found out they had edited the way her body really looked, she hit the roof. She’s a true diva and was furious that she had been given such a snubbing. Her people refused to give the pictures the green light so H&M were forced to use the originals."
In 2013, Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson publicly commented on a poster she found for the show that was obviously digitally altered. She said on social media, “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 photo shop. We all have flaws. No one looks like this. It's not attractive.” She continues to tell her followers that “Remember, you are ALL beautiful. Please don’t ever try and look like the people you see in magazines or posters because it’s fake. It only causes an unhealthy mind about how you see yourself. You are perfect the way you are.”
When her Pretty Little Liars co-star, Ashley Benson, spoke out against the show’s promotional materials that was heavily digitally altered, Troian Bellisario showed no hesitation in supporting this stance. She responded on the instagram post with “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.” As a response to overly touched up photos published in GQ, Troian took to Instagram and posted behind the scene photos from the shoot. She said, “My hips and thighs are a part of me (even though they magically weren’t in some shots! This industry seems to invest more in perfection than in flaw.”
Jamie Lee Curtis has bared it all on a few occasions, both on screen and in photo shoots, so people can see what she really looks like. In 2003, she posed makeup free and unretouched, just wearing a sports bra and underwear, for More magazine. Then, in 2008, she posed topless for AARP to send a message that women can be beautiful at any age. According to her, “There’s a reality to the way I look without my clothes on. I don’t have great thighs. I have very big breasts and a soft, fatty little tummy. And I’ve got back fat. People assume that I’m walking around in little spaghetti-strap dresses. It’s insidious—Glam Jamie, the Perfect Jamie, the great figure, blah, blah, blah. And I don’t want the unsuspecting forty-year-old women of the world to think that I’ve got it going on. It’s such a fraud. And I’m the one perpetuating it.”
Coco Rocha has set very strict boundaries on nudity. The model refuses to pose nude, in lingerie, even in bathing suits. In fact, she was outraged when she discovered that editors for Elle magazine has digitally altered her photograph to make it seem like she’s showing more skin than she actually is. She spoke out on her blog saying, "For my recent Elle Brazil cover shoot I wore a body suit under a sheer dress, but recently discovered that the body suit was Photoshopped out to give the impression that I am showing much more skin than I actually was or am comfortable with. This was specifically against my expressed verbal and written direction. I’m extremely disappointed that my wishes and contract were ignored."
Nineteen year old singer/actress Zendaya took to social media to express her outrage when she found out that her body was digitally manipulated for a November cover spread of Modeliste Magazine. She posted side-by-side photos of the original and the digitally altered version on Instagram with the caption, “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?? Thank you @modelistemagazine for pulling down the images and fixing this retouch issue.”
The talented Jennifer Lawrence is constantly in the public eye with her Oscar win, numerous nominations, successful films and endorsements. Although the actress has never really outright said she was against Photoshop, she has made a few public comments about digital manipulation and retouching. When shown her Dior ads, she commented, “Of course it's Photoshop; people don't look like that." She also commented on Photoshop in Yahoo! interview saying, "The world has this idea that if you don't look like an airbrushed perfect model. You have to see past it. You look how you look, you have to be comfortable. What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That's just dumb."
Women are not the only ones who fall into the pits of digital manipulation. Brad Pitt has been the eternal heartthrob over the past decades, and he has taken his stance on the issue. For his W magazine cover, he chose to go an un-photoshopped closeup. He even went as far as opting to have his photos taken by Chuck Close, who is well known to take portraits that expose intricate flaws and features. "You can’t be the fair-haired young boy forever. Maybe a photograph of him with his crow’s-feet and furrowed brow is good for him," says Chuck Close.