Airbrushing models to look curvier: good or bad?

Kate Upton Vogue Cover, January 2013

From breakout actress Jennifer Lawrence to supermodel Kate Upton (pictured above), 2012 was the year of celebrities with real numbers on their jean tags. Although the movement away from super-slim models of the 1990s and 2000s has been welcomed by most, a few are crying foul.

“I’ve been airbrushed to look bigger a couple of times actually,” fashion model Nicalina told FOX411 during a recent interview. “I think it’s not necessarily the best thing for your career, because it’s not a great representation of what you look like towards other clients.”

This action, called “reverse photoshopping,” involves digitally manipulating pictures to make models look fuller, curvier or more muscular — and magazine editors aren’t denying it.

Karlie Kloss Reverse Photoshop

^ Supermodel Karlie Kloss’ ribs were smoothed out in the altered version (on left) of this picture that appeared in Numéro.

“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,” said Nicky Eaton, international director of communications at Condé Nast, in a recent article. “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.”

Personally, I think the representation of more body shapes is an awesome thing — it’s just a little unexpected after years of dominance by size-0 models. Even magazine insiders agree…

“I spent the first 10 years of my career making girls look thinner — and the last 10 making them look larger,” said Robin Derrick, creative director of British Vogue.

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  • Jay

    I think magazines should simply show people in their true forms, regardless of whether it’s curvy or thin. A small amount of Photoshop to cover up obvious blemishes or faults is fine, but completely altering the shape of someone’s body? Bizarre. Show their real bodies! I don’t want models to be manipulated to conform to whatever the latest standards say is “best.”

  • kelly

    Well photo-shopping them to look more healthy and full is much better than photo-shopping them to look impractically thin, however I think there should actually just be a bigger push to ask the too-skinny models to gain a few pounds to be healthier looking. The people seeking the models never had any qualms about asking them to lose weight and expecting them to be super skinny, so why would it not be okay to now ask them to achieve a more realistic weight? What’s wrong with saying, “Hey we’re looking for a size 6, not a size zero”? No need to photo-shop when you can simply hire someone who meets the look they need.

  • gigi

    Show them as they are. Find a person with the right body type and save yourself the editing. Even they know skin and bones isn’t attractive or they wouldn’t be photo-shopping her.

  • awoman

    Just hire healthy models. Good lord.

  • Nathan

    First off, let’s define the word “curvy.” To me, curvy means an hourglass shape. Too often these days it is used as a nice way of saying “fat.” Kate Upton is not “curvy;” she has no waist and a flat butt. She’s just a little overweight.

    • burkey

      Kate Upton is overweight? Do you what the actual medical critera is to be considered overweight? Because she is FAR from it. You are an idiot.

      • burkey

        know what*

    • JustMe

      I think she looks great. But I do agree w you about the term “curvy”. Overweight women started calling themselves curvy to make themselves feel better. But the reality is that when people say men love curves, they are referring to curves like those of Beyonce, Fergie, Kim K, Sofia Vergara. Now those are curves.

      • burkey

        I agree that plenty of people use curvy for fat.. but i don’t think you have to be a perfect hour glass shape to be curvy either. And for someone to say Kate Upton is “a little overweight”. It’s comments like that, that make people think they have to meet some impossible standards. If a model who gets paid to show off her beautiful body that plenty of men seem to admire who also was on the cover of sports illustrated is a little overweight then almost everyone i know must be overweight..

  • This is a waste of time and money, and poor business sense imo. If scary thin isn’t what you want, hire a different model.