Celebrities Without Photoshop: Is This What They Really Look Like?
By Jo Piazza Posted Apr 20th 2010 07:15PM
Photos au naturel are all the rage this month as celebrities strive to exploit their "realness" by refusing to be airbrushed in pics, releasing the untouched versions of photographs that have been digitally altered and, in the case of Jessica Simpson, eschewing makeup all together for a cover shot for Marie Claire magazine.
But just how "real" are the pictures? This isn't how Kim Kardashian looks when she wakes up in the morning. The amount of effort put in by makeup artists and talented photographers, who can manipulate angles and lighting in ways that would turn a toad into a princess, still means these photographs are above and beyond what these women look like in real life.
"A small army of people can make anybody look good, even if they're not being retouched, with hair and makeup and lighting and good direction, you can't not end up with a good photograph," explains celeb stylist Robert Verdi, the delightfully bitchy star of 'The Robert Verdi Show.'
Kim Kardashian, Joy Bryant and photographer Amanda de Cadenet recently stripped down for the May issue of Harper's Bazaar. The ladies abstained from photoshopping and retouching for the spread in order to "accept their insecurities and reveal their most intimate thoughts."
Their most intimate thoughts? Whatever. We do want to give a big applause to Kim for abstaining from digital retouching. There is a slight indentation in her waist and a line or two on her belly that probably would have been scrubbed out. Maybe her famous booty would have been made a tad smaller or some boob spill-over removed. To be entirely honest, we can't think of much that would need to be corrected in Kim's naked spread. She looks pretty darn amazing.
That's because of the small army Verdi was talking about. Before a picture is even taken there are at least four hours of makeup. And that makeup isn't just going on the face.
"No one goes for the old school idea of the spray tan anymore. They literally put makeup on their body, like Dior's AirFlash Spray Foundation. It's like wearing nylons all over your body. Actresses have veins just like everybody else, but you put this makeup on and get an airbrushed look before the airbrushing. It erases lines, bumps, veins and razor burn and makes your skin glow and look really youthful," says longtime celebrity stylist and beauty expert Mary Alice Stephenson.
When Britney Spears released the untouched versions of her shots from a 2009 Candies ad, we saw a bruise that hadn't been covered by makeup was airbrushed away and it looks as though she was given a whole new butt, but she still looks beautiful. That's because a lot of the glitz, glamour and work that goes into creating the perfect photo happens before it gets airbrushed.
"Just by picking the proper shoe, you elongate the leg and can look leaner and meaner and more in proportion," Stephenson says. "Then you get into hair and makeup and that process takes up to four hours. Makeup artists know how to completely change the dynamic of a woman's face. And in most of these photos, hair is added. Rarely does anyone come to a set and just get a blowout. They have mohair pieces added to make their own hair look fuller and more luxurious."
Jessica Simpson appears on the May cover of Marie Claire without any makeup and what she promises is air-dried hair. She still had the advantage of good lighting and a photographer who knew how to work the right angles of her face.
"Without retouching, lighting can make you look 10 years younger," Stephenson says. "I've worked for 20 years with every star in the world and these women know their best angles, their worst, what they want to highlight and the photographers do just that."
Why the rush to give up the retouching and try to show America their flaws? Because perfect people are annoying.
"These women are trying to relate to their audience of real women. Women connect with someone who is imperfect, and as girls like Kim want to sell products to real women they need to find a way to make themselves seem like they have flaws too," Stephenson says.
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