It’s 2015. Every single celebrity has Instagram or some form of social media. Photoshop is in the doghouse. Fans are rabid in their approval/denigration of any famous figure, with an outlet to express their love and/or frustration. Put all of those in a blender and what can we learn?
Don’t Photoshop Zendaya.
Yesterday, 19-year-old Zendaya posted a side-by-side comparison of a recent photoshoot she did for the cover of magazine Modeliste. The first photo showed the Photoshopped photo of Zendaya, complete with slimmer legs and waist, and a neater hairline. The second photo was displayed in all of its un-edited glory. The Instagram photo was enough to make Jezebel.com want to hire Zendaya as a full-time contributor.
In the caption of the post, Zendaya slammed Modeliste for their flagrant and excessive use of Photoshop to significantly slim down the body of a 19-year-old, hellishly gorgeous celebrity. She wrote:
Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19 year old hips and torso quite manipulated. These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it?? Thank you @modelistemagazine for pulling down the images and fixing this retouch issue.
The second Zendaya tapped Share, floods of fans liked and commented in support, quickly making the post go viral, and attracting the attention of Modeliste.
Zendaya’s move was actually unusual for a celebrity to make. Historically, when a magazine Photoshops a celebrity to within an inch of their lives, the celebrities brush off the criticism publicly, probably in an effort to not bite the hand that feeds them.
Zooey Deschanel, Mindy Kaling, and Jennifer Lawrence all come to mind. But Zendaya took one look at the photo, went “nope” and managed to make the editor-in-chief of Modeliste pull the magazines.
Editor-in-chief Amy McCabe released a statement blaming their independent editing company for Photoshopping Zendaya, and praising her for calling attention to the mistake, which was “brought to [her] attention yesterday.” Yeah, sure:
As Modeliste Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, I would like to send a message to all of @zendaya beautiful, shining and loyal fans: We hear you and thank you for your outpouring support of the issue and this talented and inspiring young woman that we are all blessed to have as a role model and who will continue to inspire us through her artistic talents, intellect, creativity and honesty.
I am compelled to publicly address this situation which was brought to my attention yesterday, personally by Zendaya, prior to the issue’s anticipated premiere. Upon review of the final edited images which had been submitted to us by an independent editing company, together as a collaborative between myself, Zendaya and her parents, we concluded that the images had been retouched to an extent that was not acceptable and not true to the values and ideals we represent and promote in our publication I, therefore, made the executive decision to immediately pull the issue in order to have this rectified and have the images restored to their original, natural state which will reflect the true beauty and radiance of Zendaya. We look forward to sharing these shortly upon the issue’s re-release.
We get it. You’re afraid of Zendaya.
It’s truly remarkable that a star of rising fame as Zendaya had the courage to denigrate Photoshop practices while her A-list peers do not. It’s also remarkable that a single Instagram post has the power to stop production on a magazine issue, and makes the editor-in-chief of an influential publication pen a long apology.
Of course, Photoshop practices that seem ridiculous won’t end overnight, but if Zendaya was able to make Modeliste quake in their boots, it’s only fair to assume that people like Taylor Swift or Beyonce (if she weren’t such a proponent of Photoshopping her own body) could probably bankrupt Adobe if they wanted to. Yet another example of celebrities taking charge of their image, portrayal, narrative, and business decisions.