First models were too fat, now they're too thin. Can anyone win the beauty game?
Case of the Disappearing Muscles
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You're well aware of how Photoshop can brighten skin, erase cellulite, and slim tummies in order to transform supermodels into superhumans. But over the past few years, a new trend is taking over: reverse photoshopping, or using digital manipulation to make a person look bigger, less muscular, or even "healthier." Nicky Eaton, international director of communications at Condé Nast, has said many models in Vogue, GQ, Glamour, and others have been 'shopped to look fuller-figured.
"There have been cases where models are booked way ahead of a shoot and then they turn up two months later looking less healthy and perhaps a bit underweight. We wouldn't be happy showing them that way, so it is then that we would need that person to look a little bit fuller."
The editor of Self magazine agrees, admitting, "We retouch to make the models look bigger and healthier." But Robin Derrick, creative director of British Vogue, sums up the problem best, saying, "I spent the first 10 years of my career making girls look thinner—and the last 10 making them look larger."
Here are 12 examples of models and celebrities who've had their hard work in the gym airbrushed away.
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Supreme supermodel Karlie Kloss recently had rib removal, courtesy of a computer. But if thin is in, why edit her natural bone structure?
"We've become conditioned to expect perfected images of skinny, apparently boneless, smooth little girls in our magazines," says Jenna Sauers, a model and blogger at Jezebel.com. "In a certain way, we've come to rely on Photoshop to insulate us from the sharp reality of what maintaining an industry-approved fighting weight can do to a human body."
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Editor Jane Druker received international attention when she made Healthy magazine's cover girl Kamilla Wladyka gain 30 pounds through the magic of airbrushing, taking her from "emaciated" to "healthy." Druker, the editor of Healthy, a mag sold in health food stores, explained her decision by saying the model "showed up at the shoot looking really thin and unwell."
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Once known for her curvaceous bod, in recent years Cameron Diaz has taken on a leaner, more athletic look—a decision some photographers don't care for, as evidenced by a photo shoot where the actress had her abdominal "v cuts" removed because they "looked too masculine."
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Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton had her back muscles retouched to look less pronounced. The athlete and beauty columnist wrote in Zest magazine about the experience, "It still surprises me that we have such a narrow view of what makes women attractive. I've been photographed lots of times over the years, but one picture sticks in my mind. I wore a dress that exposed my whole back, and when I saw the photo on a screen at the shoot I thought 'Wow! My back looks muscly,' and I felt really proud. But when the picture was printed, my back was smooth and practically muscle free. They'd softened it all, and I was so disappointed because I'd put a lot of work into that! I guess, in their opinion, being muscly isn't that attractive in a woman. But surely if you take a picture of an athlete, you'd expect to see some muscle, wouldn't you?"
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Lady Gaga is already known for her supernatural looks, but Vogue took the singer to new anthropomorphic heights when they digitally enhanced her hips and boobs on a recent cover. After a "behind-the-scenes montage of the shoot" was released by photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Amy Odell of BuzzFeed wondered "why people bother with the original photography anymore when the end result is basically just a photo illustration." But the Lady herself was happy, tweeting, "Aah, the Vogue Express dropped off the September issue yesterday morning! I'm a cover girl and it's fab! Can't wait to show u tonight!"
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Keira Knightley showed up on movie posters for her 2006 film King Arthur with more meat on her bones (particularly her arms and bust) than she really has. The famously petite actress was not impressed, saying, "Those things certainly weren't mine." And while she approved the pictures, telling the marketing department, "OK, fine. I honestly don't give a s—-," she has apparently learned her lesson. For her more recent movie The Duchess, "She has insisted that her figure stay in its natural state," an insider said. "She is proud of her body and doesn't want it altered."
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Proving that even gorgeous lingerie models aren't immune, Deutzen Kroes recently had her pectoral and abs muscles "smoothed out" in a Victoria's Secret swimsuit shoot.
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Fellow Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel received similar treatment when she had abs definition and protruding hip bones photoshopped out.
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The Queen of Pop has seemed to magically defy aging through her famously intense workout regimen and diet, but fashion house Dolce and Gabanna didn't appreciate the side effects of all her strength training during a recent ad campaign. Thanks to Photoshop, Madonna had almost all her hard-earned muscle tone and vascularity in her arms airbrushed off.
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In the past Demi Moore has made headlines for her nude pregnancy portrait on the cover of Vanity Fair and her Photoshop fail cover of W in which her hip was removed. The latest scandal to haunt the star? Her prominent chest and collar bones were erased in a cosmetics campaign for Helen Rubenstein. The actress lost a lot of weight after splitting with Ashton Kutcher so at the time of the ad campaign she was, according to industry insiders, "scary skinny."
Sarah Jessica Parker
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When people aren't gushing over Sarah Jessica Parker's impeccable fashion taste or speculating about the state of her womb, they're talking about her amazing muscles. Unfortunately the actress recently lost her arm definition to retouching for an Elle magazine cover.
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Perky talk show host and known exercise enthusiast (she's been a SHAPE covergirl twice!) Kelly Ripa unfortunately lost a lot of muscle definition in a Fitness bikini shoot. But proving that nobody's perfect, she also lost her outie bellybutton in a Shape shoot.