Why Did These Celebrities Photoshop Their Photos From The Met Gala?

By Melody Rose··  6 min read
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The stars…they’re just like us.

This Instagram account pulled back the curtains on the red carpet and exposed a range of photo editing being used by celebrities and their teams to curate a specific level of glam. 


Hailey Bieber’s makeup artist posted a picture that slightly changed her shadows and face contour. Khloe Kardashian’s makeup artist posted a picture that drastically changed the reality star’s jaw, breasts, skin, neck, nose, skin texture, eyes, eyebrows, head shape, hairline, and lips. Kendall Jenner’s hairstylist posted a photo changing the model’s skin texture, eyebrow position, lips, and neck texture. Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s stylist posted a picture of the couple altering Kourtney’s skin texture, lip size, and eyebrow height while editing Travis’s arm, leg, and suit wrinkles. The pictures that actress Dove Cameron’s makeup artist and designer posted altered her hips, waist, arms, legs and dress. The list could go on and on, and probably far exceed the length of the red carpet itself.

Once again, this proves the level of “fake” that we idolize and also the hole in the comparison trap. We tend to look to Hollywood for fashion and beauty inspo, yet here we have mega stars who have top-shelf access to stylists, makeup, clothing, trainers, and everything in between still using photo editing to be molded into “ideal” standards. This has us yet again feeling inadequate and in competition with what turns out to be a totally unattainable reality.

The Dangers of Photoshop

Photoshopping does more than just alter pictures; it also alters reality, social lives, mental health, and self-esteem for many people.

In fact, Dr. Rachel O’Neill, a licensed professional clinical counselor and primary therapist on Talkspace, spoke out about this stating, "Unreasonable or impossible standards of beauty created by photo retouching can result in individual feelings of being flawed, not measuring up, or not being good enough. Over time, it's possible for an individual to internalize these feelings, which may result in low self-esteem, reduced self-confidence, and feelings of sadness and depression."

She goes on to note that before social media this type of photo retouching was usually limited to magazines alone. Now that we have a multitude of social media platforms at our fingertips (and editing apps with millions of downloads), the increasing pressures become almost inescapable. 

Celebrities Who Have Had Enough

Speaking of magazines being one of the longest standing culprits of editing photos, a handful of celebrities are starting to fight back about their photoshopped cover shoots.

One such celebrity is the gorgeous Zendaya. In 2015, she posed for the cover of Modeliste Magazine. When the issue was released she quickly realized quite a few drastic embellishments had been made to her frame. So she took to social media (hey, social media can serve some good!) to call out the magazine and to stand by unedited beauty. She took the liberty of creating a side-by-side image of the filtered and unfiltered version of her picture.

She wrote in the caption, “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.”

I think we can all agree that Zendaya is a natural bombshell who looks absolutely stunning in the unfiltered version!

Another outspoken celebrity is actress Kate Winslet. The Titanic star has always been known and admired for her natural beauty and feminine, curvy frame. Which is why, back in 2003, when GQ significantly trimmed her curves to fit their cover, she spoke out in an interview with BBC News saying, “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.”

In 2011, she also spoke out against cosmetic surgery in an interview with The Telegraph saying, “It goes against my morals, the way that my parents brought me up and what I consider to be natural beauty. I will never give in.”

It’s refreshing to hear, isn’t it?

Photoshopping alters reality, social lives, mental health, and self-esteem for many people.

Last, but certainly not the least, Lady Gaga has also taken the stage…literally! Displeased with her December 2013 cover for Glamour Magazine, she used her Glamour Woman of the Year Awards acceptance speech as the opportunity to call attention to the over-editing. She said, “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… I don’t even look like this (referring to her wild wig and makeup for the evening).”

She went on to say that she thought photoshop was damaging to readers who see the images and called on her fans to “fight back against the forces that make them feel like they’re not beautiful.” Then she challenged the media with: “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.”

Whew, isn’t that the truth?

Closing Thoughts

While we may not have fan-followings or big stages like these A-list celebrities, there are still ways we too can fight back. First, don’t fall into the trap of hating yourself for all that you aren’t. Giving your energy to mastering “perfection” will do nothing more than keep you unhealthy, unhappy, and easily swayed by mainstream standards. 

Secondly, don’t engage. When we allow our attention to get all-consumed in the noise, we actively give our personal power (and money) away. As it is, the average woman spends nearly $225,360 over her lifetime on her appearance. And while there’s no shame in using beauty products, it comes down to the motive. Is the product being used to feel good or to give the illusion of feeling good? Deleting the apps and not engaging with obviously over-edited public figures will shift the demand. 

Lastly, voice your opinion if you feel called. This Instagram influencer is exercising her free speech to do just that on her personal platform. You can too. In any case, prioritizing happiness is the real win – there’s no filter for that beauty trick! 

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