Celebrities are photographed pretty much constantly when they're out and about, running errands, thanks to the popularity of paparazzi photos. In those types of photos, the paparazzi generally want the celebrity to look as bad as possible, because those kinds of shots sell. So, they don't usually bother with things like airbrushing — in fact, they often highlight or circle a celebrity's flaws.
Promotional photos for projects and editorial photos for magazines are an entirely different thing. In those types of shots, the photographer (and everyone involved in the project or publication) wants the celebrity to look absolutely amazing. As in, so beautiful they don't even seem human. Now, there's no denying that celebrities are generally far more glam than the average human — they often have a team dedicated to making sure they look fantastic on a regular basis — but they're human too. They have flaws, and flabby bits, and blemishes, and all that. And often, a decision is made to photoshop out some aspect of the celebrity's look, to slim things down, smooth things out, etc. While you might assume celebrities want to look as amazing as possible, on the contrary, there's been a trend lately of celebrities speaking out against photoshop and the unrealistic standards it creates.
When they were faced with a bit of a photoshop controversy, these 17 steamy celebs reacted in amazing ways — check them out.
17 Lupita Nyong'o, whose hair was edited in a totally offensive manner
Now, photoshopping someone's hair may not seem like that big a deal. After all, you're just eliminating some flyaway strands or frizzy bits to make the image better, right? Well, not exactly. When rising superstar Lupita Nyong'o posed for Grazia UK, they edited her hair — in a major way. What they did was edit out her entire ponytail, which showcased her natural hair, and just gave her a sleek, smooth, more European look. People were mad, and Nyong'o was a little peeved as well. As she said on Instagram, "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." Yes, girl!
16 Emily Ratajkowski, a model retouched by Madame Figaro
Emily Ratajkowski is no stranger to being in front of the camera — as a model, she's constantly being photographed for different campaigns and magazine spreads. However, she's not a fan of putting forward an unrealistic standard of beauty if she can help it. When she was heavily photoshopped on the cover of a French magazine, she spoke out, saying that "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." Talk about inspiring.
15 Lorde, who isn't afraid to admit she has blemishes
There's no denying that, in addition to being an incredible musician, Lorde is majorly gorgeous. Her slightly gothic vibe is a total breath of fresh air in comparison to many other pop starlets, and she's not afraid to be herself, which we absolutely love. We also love that she's not afraid to point out her own flaws, even if others try to gloss over them. When a photo of her performing and looking absolutely gorgeous was shared online, Lorde was the first to point out that there had been some photoshopping done to the picture — and she responded by sharing a raw, untouched shot of herself from that very same performance, showing that she had a few blemishes on her skin, and wasn't just an airbrushed goddess. What a queen!
14 Lena Dunham, who isn't about to be photoshopped on a magazine cover
Lena Dunham is a major body positivity warrior, someone who is totally not afraid to show off her body even though she doesn't have the Hollywood-approved size zero physique. And that means she's also not afraid to speak up when her body is being photoshopped beyond the point of recognition. When she got the cover of the Spanish magazine Tentaciones, she was thrilled — until she saw the photos. She expressed her gratitude for being featured in the magazine, but also gently pointed out that "this is NOT what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like . . . if you're into what I do, why not be honest with your readers?.' We're so glad she spoke out — when a celebrity with a real body is photoshopped, it sends a majorly harmful message to all the fans out there who likewise aren't a size zero.
13 Keira Knightley, who was transformed into a much curvier version of herself for the King Arthur poster
Keira Knightley is insanely gorgeous, as almost anyone would agree, and she has a very particular kind of physique — she's tall and slim. She's not super curvaceous, and that's totally okay — everyone's body is beautiful. However, when it came to put her on the poster for the film King Arthur, someone decided to give her a little extra curves on top. Knightley wasn't a fan, and she spoke out about it to The Times, saying that "I think women's bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame. It's much easier to take a picture of somebody without a shape; it simply is. Whereas actually you need tremendous skill to be able to get a woman's shape and make it look like it does in life, which is always beautiful."
12 Kate Winslet's GQ cover, where her legs were significantly slimmed
Kate Winslet may just be one of the most outspoken celebrities when it comes to photoshop. She's not a fan of the unrealistic standards it puts forth, and is always the first to point out when a photo of herself is altered, even if everyone else is just saying how gorgeous she looks in the shot. When she snagged the cover of GQ way back in 2003, they photographed the starlet looking majorly sultry — and a lot smaller. She spoke out to the BBC, saying 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." Of course it does — she's absolutely stunning!
11 Ashley Benson, who spoke out about this promo poster
When Ashley Benson got one of the spots on the hit drama Pretty Little Liars, her career absolutely skyrocketed — she went from being another blonde starlet to a household name. However, that doesn't mean she's going to be quiet about every decision the producers or studio makes when it comes to promoting the show. When a poster for the upcoming season came out back in 2013, Benson spoke out about the shot, saying that she "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." Given how many of her fans are young, impressionable teens, it's so important that she takes the time to speak about about things like that and tells all her fans they're perfect just as they are.
10 Lady Gaga, who felt a little too airbrushed in this cover shot
When it comes to her appearance, Lady Gaga is absolutely fearless. She'll wear just about anything, rock any kind of hairstyle, and go completely over the top with her make-up choices. After all, why not have fun with your look? However, there's one thing she's not willing to do — put forward a totally photoshopped version of herself. When she got the cover of Glamour back in 2013, they made her look smooth and glamorous, and she wasn't entirely happy. She spoke out about the cover, saying that "I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft. I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning." And, even better, she spoke out at the Glamour Woman of the Year awards saying that fans need to "fight back against the forces that make them feel like they're not beautiful." Amazing.
9 Kerry Washington, who was unbelievably gracious about InStyle basically lightening her skin
When Kerry Washington graced the cover of InStyle in 2015, she looked, well, a little bit different than she normally does. And people weren't happy about it, because it wasn't just that the photoshopping team made her slimmer — they made her skin lighter, and fans were quick to speak out that it was absolutely not okay. The magazine spoke out saying that "we have heard from those who have spoken out about our newsstand cover photograph concerned that Kerry's skin tone was lightened. While we did not digitally lighten Kerry's skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern...we are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward." Well done! Washington herself responded to InStyle, saying "beautiful statement, thank u 4 opening this convo."
8 Lorde, who wasn't thrilled with how this shoot made her nose seem much smaller
Lorde is always the first to point out that she's just a regular human with flaws, and when Fashion magazine shared images that she felt made her nose look totally different, she spoke out about it. She took to her Twitter account, telling all her followers to be aware that her nose looked completely different in the shots. This wasn't quite as big a controversy as some of the other photoshop scandals, but we absolutely love that Lorde took the time to remind her fans that images in magazines are often altered or lit in a way that can make the celebrity look completely different. No one looks as incredible as celebrities do in the pages of magazines, not even the celebrities themselves, and that's an important thing everyone needs to remember.
7 Coco Rocha, who was enraged by what this mag did to her images
Coco Rocha is a superstar who has been featured in the pages of major magazines around the world, but she had a bit of a beef with Elle Brazil after their photoshopping work. As she said on Tumblr, "I have long had a policy of no nudity or partial nudity in my photoshoots.... 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." Seriously not cool — everyone, even celebrities and models, has the right to decide how much skin they want to show.
6 Kim Kardashian West, whose unphotoshopped image was accidentally leaked first
Kim Kardashian is a master of selfies and make-up, and can easily transform herself to create a certain look. However, she faced a bit of a photoshop controversy when Complex accidentally posted the unphotoshopped image of her photoshoot before correcting the error and sharing the retouched image. Kardashian, rather than being embarrassed by the raw shot circulating, embraced it — she posted a side-by-side of the two shots and said "so what? I have a little cellulite, what curvy girl doesn't? How many people do you think are photoshopped? It happens all the time! I'm proud of my body and my curves, and this picture coming out is probably helpful for everyone to see that just because I am on the cover of a magazine doesn't mean I'm perfect." So amazing.
5 Nicki Minaj, who blasted ESPN for altering her forehead
Nicki Minaj is definitely not afraid to share her opinion about anything, especially when it comes to her own appearance — and she definitely did when it came to her ESPN cover. When she snagged the cover of the magazine, the photo that ended up being selected made her look a little different than normal, and Minaj wasn't having it. As she said, "I love my personal unretouched photos where my forehead doesn't mysteriously grow in length" and even shared the actual cover with the caption "when retouching goes wrong." Yikes! Celebrities often share pictures of shoots they're involved in and magazine covers they get in order to notify their fans, who may not be regular readers of the publication, so having a celebrity speak out about how awful they think they look is definitely not good for business.
4 Kerry Washington, who didn't even recognize herself in this altered cover shot
Poor Kerry Washington. She is absolutely gorgeous, yet seems to get wrapped up in photoshopping controversies all the time. This is yet another example. When she got the cover of Adweek, they retouched her appearance in a major way — and she was a little bit upset by the photo. She shared that "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." No kidding! There's no denying that celebrities can look different depending on the lighting or make-up choices, but this is way over the top. We're glad she's not afraid to speak up about when she's made to look like someone else in her shoots, and advocates for being yourself and embracing your beauty.
3 Mandy Moore, whose backstage selfie started a controversy
This is a bit of a reversal of the typical photoshop controversy. Before her appearance on a late night talk show, Mandy Moore snapped a selfie of herself backstage, all glammed up and ready to go on. Her followers almost immediately started accusing her of photoshopping the pictures, and were upset that she would put forward an image like that. Moore eventually ended up responding to the controversy, editing the caption on her Instagram shot and saying that "ps: I am 5'10 and a size 6. I have NEVER photoshopped pictures. That's not what I'm about. If you're going to be rude about people's bodies, go elsewhere." Way to go, Mandy! Yes, her waist looks teeny tiny here, but part of it is just the angle of the shot — so pipe down, haters!
2 Ronda Rousey, who accidentally shared an altered image
Athletes generally don't get mixed up in photoshopping scandals as often as celebrities, but that doesn't mean they never do — just ask Ronda Rousey. Rousey shared a photo of herself to promote her late night talk show appearance, and she soon found out that the image she had been given to share was photoshopped. She shared a side-by-side showing the real image, and posted that "I have to make an apology to everyone. I was sent a picture to share on social for Fallon that was altered without me knowing to make my arms look smaller... this goes against everything I believe and I am extremely proud of every inch of my body. And I can assure you all it will never happen again." What a fantastic message to share!
1 Lily James, whose Cinderella waist was the subject of a ton of controversy
A ton of celebrities are speaking out time and time again about how opposed they are to photoshop, but that doesn't mean every photoshop controversy ends in a body positive speech. When the posters came out for Cinderella, all everyone could talk about was how insanely small Lily James' waist looked, and many assumed it was photoshopped. She responded by saying it was just the corset that gave her waist such an unreal appearance, and even complained that the discussion was "so irrelevant." While it's definitely tough to have her image picked apart, we can't help but wonder why James couldn't have said that the corset definitely gave an unrealistic body standard to her fans — it definitely sends a very specific message, whether it's what she intended or not, and it's a totally relevant topic of discussion.
Sources: people.com, time.com, cosmopolitan.com