Kerry, Is That You? When Photoshopping Goes Too Far

April 28, 2016  |  
1 of 10



Digital manipulation is so commonplace and pervasive these days that sometimes we don’t even recognize when images have been altered. But that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to women.  Our bodies are constantly manipulated in order to achieve an impossible, so-called ideal, a standard of beauty that does more body image harm than publications realize.  From lightening skin tones to minimizing the gap between thighs, the width of hips and fullness of curves, it’s safe to say that retouching often goes too far. While it’s nice to see more and more Black women represented on the cover of popular magazines, it’s not so nice to see a distorted image of them. Stunning stars have their pictures altered in ways that make no sense, and when magazines are called out for it, they often apologize. Yet and still, this type of thing keeps happening over and over again. It’s no wonder the following celebrity women and their fans have spoken out about their Photoshopped images in magazines.

View this post on Instagram

So…You know me. I'm not one to be quiet about a magazine cover. I always celebrate it when a respected publication invites me to grace their pages. It's an honor. And a privilege. And ADWEEK is no exception. I love ADWEEK. It's a publication I appreciate. And learn from. I've long followed them on Twitter. And when they invited me to do a cover, I was excited and thrilled. And the truth is, I'm still excited. I'm proud of the article. And I like some of the inside images a great deal. But, I have to be honest…I was taken aback by the cover. 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. That being said. You all have been very kind and supportive. Also, as I've said, I'm very proud of the article. There are a few things we discussed in the interview that were left out. Things that are important to me (like: the importance of strong professional support and my awesome professional team) and I've been thinking about how to discuss those things with anyone who is interested, in an alternate forum. But until then…Grab this week's ADWEEK. Read it. I hope you enjoy it. And thank you for being patient with me while I figured out how to post this in a way that felt both celebratory and honest. XOXOXOX

A post shared by Kerry Washington (@kerrywashington) on


Kerry Washington

Scandal star Kerry Washington didn’t recognize her own likeness on the cover of AdWeek, and she turned to Instagram to post about her feelings in a very honest way.


Kerry Washington…Again

InStyle magazine released a statement after Kerry Washington’s March 2015 cover hit stands.  People thought the actress’s skin appeared lighter.  InStyle said the cover lighting (the background was completely white) likely contributed to that effect and insisted they did not digitally lighten Washington’s skin tone.


View this post on Instagram

When retouching goes wrong

A post shared by Barbie® (@nickiminaj) on

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj shared an ESPN The Magazine cover with Kobe Bryant and called out the publication for retouching her face.   In addition to the caption she wrote on Instagram, she also said, “I love my personal unretouched photos where my forehead doesn’t mysteriously grow in length.”


Lena Dunham

The Girls creator and actress accused Spanish magazine Tentaciones of Photoshopping her picture on their cover, an image they bought from a photo shoot for Entertainment Weekly from 2013.  Though she later apologized to the magazine for putting the blame on them solely, Dunham has since said she no longer wants her images to be retouched or reconfigured.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

The singer called Glamour out after seeing her image on the cover of their Women of the Year issue back in 2013.  She had this to say when she received an award from the magazine: “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…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.”


Naomi Campbell

Could it be the angle?  Or the lighting?  Supermodel Naomi Campbell’s October 2013 Vogue Thailand magazine cover didn’t look like the Naomi we know and love.


Gabourey Sidibe

The Empire actress graced the cover of Elle in 2010, but people accused the magazine of lightening Sidibe’s skin and attempting to hide her size by using a tight shot instead of a full body image.


Lupita Nyong’o

It wasn’t a cover shot, but Vanity Fair was accused of lightening actress and fashion star Lupita Nyong’o’s skin in January of 2014.


Trending on MadameNoire

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN