Lupita Nyong’o Doesn’t Want You Photoshopping Her

We’re no strangers to photo-editing apps. From red-eye removal to the blemish tool, we’ve admittedly tweaked our real selves—with limitations, of course, given our subpar editing skills. After all, we live in a world where perfection is virtually attainable on magazine covers and editorial spreads wherein celebrities have been mercilessly manipulated, some to the point of non-recognition. Fortunately, a number of A-listers are sharing their truth by not only calling out these unrealistic portrayals, but also posting the real, original, unfiltered versions of themselves. Here, the women who are not afraid to be themselves, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

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Lupita Nyong'o

The Oscar winner accused Grazia of Photoshopping her natural hair for its latest magazine cover, editing out her ponytail and smoothing her strands "to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like," she wrote on Twitter.


"As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. 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. 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. #dtmh"

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Kerry Washington

The Scandal star explained that she was taken aback upon seeing her cover photo for Adweek's April 2016 issue. After all, her features were so heavily altered that the final product hardly looked like her.


"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"

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A champion of self-love, the young talent shared a before-and-after photo of a cover shoot with Modeliste magazine, with visible manipulations of her hips and torso.


"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."

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Lady Gaga

The pop star criticized her Glamour cover from December 2013 for her noticeably airbrushed look. At the magazine's Women of the Year Awards, she cited her disapproval: "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."


Gaga also denounced the media's blatant use of Photoshop and its negative impact on younger generations. "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."

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Kim Kardashian

Back in March 2009, the reality star appeared on Complex magazine's website in an unretouched image that was soon replaced with a Photoshopped version of the original. The backlash was swift, and Kim responded with side-by-side photos on her website.


"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."