Recently, after gracing the cover of the Italian fashion magazine Grazia, Lupita Nyong’o took to Instagram to call out the UK fashion publication for editing out and smoothing a portion of her natural hair. The Twelve Years A Slave actress said, “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.”
Nyong’o went on say that she embraces every element of her natural heritage writing “being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.” The photographer, An Le, has since apologized for the alteration.
We all know that Photoshop is prevalent in the picture perfect world of Hollywood, and it doesn’t go unnoticed that the great majority of stars with a similar experience to Nyong’o are also are women. As it becomes easier to call out unauthorized digital alteration, a new legion of socially conscious celebrities are holding the publications that feature them accountable — and are fiercely advocating for the importance of body positivity and embracing who you are rather than embody somebody else’s ideal.
Here’s a list of our favourite celebrity callouts so you can cheer them along as well.
When Emily Ratajkowski was selected for the cover of Madame Figaro cover, she expressed her disappointment that they had heavily altered her lips and breasts. “Everyone is uniquely beautiful in their own ways. We all have insecurities about that things that make us different from a typical ideal of beauty,” Ratajkowski explained. “I like so many of us, try every day to work past those insecurities. 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.”
Last year, Kerry Washington wrote a response on Instagram to her AdWeek cover “I always celebrate it when a respected publication invites me to grace their pages…but I have to be honest I was taken aback by the cover,” the Scandal star explained. “Look I’m no stranger to Photoshopping… however it felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like in the mirror.”
Washington’s fans also criticized a March 2015 cover of Instyle where the star’s skin appeared to be lightened. Instyle responded saying that Washington’s lightened skin tone was due to bright lighting but that they appreciated the feedback and would be more mindful in the future.
The confident teen known for promoting unique style and self-love stated her shock over the alteration of her 2015 Modeliste cover. She stated on her Instagram that “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.”
The young star then released the unretouched photos on her Instagram after bringing the retouching to the attention of the magazine with Modeliste’s editor-in-chief Amy McCabe saying in an open letter that the magazine had decided to pull the issue and release the unretouched photos.
After calling out Spanish magazine Tentaciones about a digitally altered cover, the Girls creator announced earlier this year that she is officially done with Photoshop in her digital newsletter Lenny. Although it was later revealed by the magazine that the image was unaltered, Dunham stated in her Lenny essay that at this point “seeing the photo got me thinking about the real issue, which is that I don’t recognize my own fucking body anymore. And that’s a problem.”
Lorde critiqued Fashion magazine when she released one of the magazine’s editorial photos and one of her concert photos from the same day. The magazine had altered her nose and erased her acne. 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.”
After appearing on the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s music issue in 2014 Minaj critiqued the magazine’s use of Photoshop on her Instagram after releasing the unretouched photos saying on Instagram, “I love my personal unretouched photos where my forehead doesn’t mysteriously grow in length.” She then followed it up with an even more heavily retouched photo captioning it “when retouching goes wrong.”
In 2012, Lady Gaga made headlines when the behind-the-scenes photos of her Vogue cover shoot were released, highlighting the extensive editing that had taken place. Always an outspoken advocate for body acceptance, Lady Gaga used her platform at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards in 2013 to call the magazine out for the digital alteration of its subjects during her acceptance speech, saying: “I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft. I don’t look like this when I wake up in the morning. I want to see… change on your covers. When the covers change that’s when the culture changes.”