Over the years, we’ve become used to seeing perfect image after perfect image of celebrities and models with long, lithe bodies, and perfectly made up faces in advertising and marketing.
And we’ve grown used to the fact that it’s difficult for most of us to see ourselves represented in these perfectly airbrushed and retouched images.
In recent years however, the celebrities in the pictures themselves have taken to speaking out about the epidemic of photoshop and airbrushing of supposed flaws. It seems that there’s becoming an appetite for realism – people who desperately want to see people who look like them.
The latest set of the celebrity pack to join in with speaking out are the Loose Women ladies. On 29th April, the various presenters of the daytime show released a black and white image, showing them clad in just their underwear. And viewers found this real image, showing the women – flaws, stretchmarks, tummies, scars and all – a refreshing change from the norm.
The women – including Andrea McLean, Coleen Nolan, and Saira Khan – spoke about what they wanted to achieve with the campaign, with Saira saying, “I want to say ‘this is NORMAL,’ particularly to women of colour. Forget the airbrushed images you see. This is what I REALLY look like. I’m sticking two fingers up.”
Stacey Solomon also said, “What I hope this photoshoot shows women and men is that in most celebrity pictures there has been some form of airbrushing or retouching – so they shouldn’t compare themselves to unrealistic ideals.”
But what other celebrities and brands have helped to speak out against unrealistic beauty ideals in the recent past?
She’s one of the most beautiful women in the world, and beauty brands know it. It’s why she’s been the face of ever-glamorous Lancome for more than seven years.
However, last year, Winslet made a point of speaking out against the retouching the brand reportedly does to her campaign photos – by stipulating in her contract that her photos would be “free of additional editing”. When asked about it, she admitted that she feels a responsibility to the younger generation, to ensure they know what’s real, and what isn’t.
This lady is synonymous with one beauty brand in particular – she became a L’Oreal ambassador years ago, and has fronted campaigns and ads for them ever since.
But everything changed in their 2014 Perfect Age campaign, which Mirren and L’Oreal revealed would include untouched images showing Helen at her beautiful, natural best.
At the time, Helen said, “I am not gorgeous, I never was, but I was always OK looking and I’m keen to stay that way. I hope I can inspire other women towards greater confidence by making the most of their natural good looks.”
They’re one of the premium underwear brands out there, so it makes sense that they’d want embrace women of every shape and size. And in 2014, that’s exactly what they did. The picture showcased 14 real women of all different sizes, and even women who had been through real issues – namely, a breast cancer diagnosis.
Michelle Mone, the founder of the brand, said, ‘Since I started Ultimo, it’s always been my aim to boost women’s confidence. I feel it’s our duty to showcase women of all shapes and sizes and make them feel good about themselves.’
In perhaps one of the most famous ‘real women’ campaigns of all time, Dove proved they were ready to embrace the natural, unretouched woman in all her glory. They released the now nationally recognised photo of women in their underwear, with the aim of changing women’s attitudes to how they look, by showing that actually not all of us look like swimwear models – thank god.
Singer Alicia has famously shunned the public pressures of celebrities and refused to bow down to the trend that demanded she look picture perfect at all times, by stopping wearing make-up.
Writing on Lenny Letter, Alicia said “Women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked.”
“Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.”
To be honest, if you look as gorgeous as Alicia Keys, why wouldn’t you go without makeup?
This Girl Can
One of the most famous campaigns of the year was the This Girl Can campaign, supporting women of all ages and shapes to get into sport. And the ad really did appeal to everyone, showing women who look just like you and me, running, swimming and jumping. If anything will motivate us to exercise, it will be this inspiring video.
The underwear brand was praised recently when it released pictures for its newest campaign, debuting images of women who weren’t just in their 20s, and super thin. The campaign also photographed far older models than the fashion industry usually sees, including 73-year-old Lauren Hutton, in just her underwear and a sheer white top.