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Whether or not you realize it, Photoshop plays a huge role in the entertainment industry — probably more so than we even think already. And the favorite target of Hollywood and the media’s Photoshop and retouching tends to be women’s faces and bodies, no matter how impossibly perfect-looking they may already be to begin with. We’ve seen the damage it causes to mental health (for young people especially) to constantly be looking at retouched photos, and it’s clear that the trend has unhealthily shifted beauty standards, making them nearly impossible to achieve. Many actresses, however, have taken a stand against their real bodies being altered on-screen in their movies and TV shows, refusing to allow retouching on their projects — and we absolutely love that.
These actresses — like Jamie Lee Curtis, Keira Knightley, and Kate Winslet — have had enough of seeing their frames whittled down, their wrinkles and rolls smoothed out, and their image being used to perpetuate looking a way they themselves know they don’t appear on camera. These women did what they needed to through public call-outs, contract stipulations, and frank conversations with the media to ensure their un-retouched bodies made it to movie and TV screens, and audiences everywhere are better off for seeing what a real woman’s body actually looks like on camera.
Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley put it perfectly in 2014, per the Independent: “I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame.” That’s why she and others are refusing to let retouched images of their bodies be used as ammunition in the war — check out more inspiring women who have said no to getting their movies and TV shows retouched over the years.
A version of this article was originally published on March 2022.
Succession star Sarah Snook recently told Vogue Australia per Daily Mail, “I mean, every time you get a role, you’re like, ‘Oh, this one’s the one. I’m going to really work out and get fit and look like the movie star I would hope to become,’ And every time, I’m like, can I really be f***** subscribing to an unrealistic beauty standard that makes more women unhappy, because they feel like they can’t attain something that’s not actually realistic anyway?”
Jamie Lee Curtis
For her newest film Everything Everywhere All at Once, Jamie Lee Curtis revealed that she’s tired of concealing her body. She said, “I want there to be no concealing of anything,” so she’s showing her real belly for the first time since she was 11 years old.
Kate Winslet has been outspoken on many things about the entertainment industry, including the overuse of Photoshop. For her critically-acclaimed show Mare of Easttown, she refused any filter or retouching during the sex scenes. “I guess that’s why people have connected with this character in the way that they have done because there are clearly no filters. She’s a fully functioning, flawed woman with a body and a face that moves in a way that is synonymous with her age and her life, and where she comes from. I think we’re starved of that a bit.”
For her role in I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer refused any retouching on her. Per Hollywood Reporter, Schumer said, “I said,’ Do not retouch me in this movie. Do not retouch anything. You see my cellulite. You see my, my rolls, whatever. … It’s like, I feel great.”
Keira Knightley has said multiple times throughout her career that she doesn’t want any touch-ups. For her 2008 film The Duchess, she refused to allow any retouching to be done to her body in publicity photos, per Daily Mail, after just a few years prior her figure was memorably altered in photos for King Arthur.
When the new Pretty Little Liars promo poster dropped, Ashley Benson was not a fan, slamming it for being too photoshopped, according to People. She posted to Instagram in a now-deleted post saying, “Saw this floating around….hope it’s not the poster. Our faces in this were from 4 years ago…..and we all look ridiculous. Way too much photoshop. We all have flaws. No one looks like this. It’s not attractive.”
Ashley Benson wasn’t the only one to call out the photoshopped Pretty Little Liars poster. Fellow co-star Troian Bellasario commented under the now-deleted post saying, “Wow @itsashbenzo I couldn’t agree more. Very cool concept as always. But aren’t we attractive enough women as we are? Why can’t we just look like us. Once,” per StyleCaster.
Jameela Jamil said that she wouldn’t allow NBC to Photoshop her The Good Place promo photos for the last season. Per StyleCaster, she said, “I just managed to get NBC to agree to not airbrush my promo photos which was really cool because normally, those photos get heavily airbrushed. I just don’t want to see that on myself, and I don’t want other people who follow me to see some sort of AI-perfect imagery of me.”
When Thorne posed nude for GQ in 2017, she told the outlet she didn’t want to be photoshopped.
“As a public persona you know naturally that everytime you shoot with a magazine there is always small retouching,” Thorne explained in an Instagram post. “Cuz yeah if they show my acne scars or a wrinkle in my forehead or my teeth aren’t perfectly white, people will look at the photo and say no she’s not perfect and usually most people don’t want the public trashing and I get it, But f-ck it I’m here to tell you that’s right I’m not F-CKING PERFECT. IM A HUMAN BEING AND IM REAL. So hip hop your asses over the fence and GET OVER IT.”
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