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Minding the Media: The Latest Round of Photoshopped Celebs

We’ve already explored the age-old practice of altering the images of famous figures — with everyone from President Lincoln to Faith Hill (see here). Today we take another look at the latest airbrushing fakery of celebrity photographs.

Even though we’re well aware that all photos in Hollywood are altered, it still doesn’t lessen the blow: We can begin to feel bad about ourselves or aspire to these images. What’s interesting is that well before wand meets image, these celebs spend hours in hair and makeup, as photographers and crew fine-tune the lighting and various angles for the perfect shot. And weeks or months before that, the staff works on finding a creative concept and the most flattering, beautiful clothes. Once the photos are taken, everyone pores over each image to find the one. And then — some expert Photoshops it.

So, next time you’re wishing you had Kelly Clarkson’s flawless face or Jessica Alba’s tiny waist, just remember — so do Clarkson and Alba. Here’s a selection of images that are highly airbrushed and highly ridiculous.

Below is Kelly Clarkson’s new album cover, and you wouldn’t be the only one to assume heavy-handed Photoshop at play. Kelly Clarkson does, too. According to , Clarkson recently blogged about her cover:

“It’s very colorful and they have definitely photo-shopped the crap out of me but I don’t care. haha! Whoever she is, she looks great.”


In December, Jessica Alba, who’s been praised by many magazines for shedding her baby weight in a flash, had her waist, hips and legs sawed off — along with other standard Photoshop improvements — in these ads for Campari. The before photos were leaked and posted on various Web sites (see here.)


Ali Larter’s usually fit frame looks plain strange in this month’s Cosmopolitan. It looks like the lower half of her body doesn’t even belong to her and was borrowed from a 10-year-old.


In these ad images, Katie Holmes and Victoria Beckham look barely recognizable:


However, People thinks Holmes “has never looked more glamorous”, but we think she’s never looked so unlike herself — and so like Beckham.


“Simply stunning,” is how People describes Beckham’s ads for Armani. Yes, the airbrushing is quite impressive, and Beckham is also quite satisfied.

“She says her stomach has been reworked with make-up and lighting and she is grateful for that,” a source told The Daily Express. It’s pretty obvious that airbrushing was also part of the reworking process.

The source also said that Beckham “joked that only husband David and her know what her stomach is really like, with its stretchmarks and loose skin…and she plans to keep it that way!”

In something-we-thought-we’d-never-see news: an un-airbrushed image. The new W magazine cover reveals Brad Pitt in all his imperfect glory.


So, what would you rather see: Realistic images that portray celebs just as they truly are, or an airbrushed fantasy like all of the above?

Minding the Media: The Latest Round of Photoshopped Celebs

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is an Associate Editor and regular contributor at Psych Central. Her Master's degree is in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University. In addition to writing about mental disorders, she blogs regularly about body and self-image issues on her Psych Central blog, Weightless.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2018). Minding the Media: The Latest Round of Photoshopped Celebs. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 24 Jan 2009)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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