“This is how I’ve always wanted to see myself. But now that I see it, I’m questioning why I ever wanted to look like that.”

That’s what one woman said after viewing an image of herself that had been so heavily edited that she hardly recognized herself.

The team at BuzzFeed invited four women to participate in a professional photoshoot, then asked a Photoshop expert to make them look like “cover models.” And though the end results were conventionally “beautiful,” the women who modeled were unnerved by the results.

“I think because I know myself, this looks really… different,” one participant said.


The women all agreed that the images didn’t represent their true selves — the editing had removed the quirks and imperfections that were important to their identities.

“I like my freckles, I think they add character,” one woman said. “And that fact that they’re gone… I don’t even know who that is.”

Though digital editing is commonplace in the fashion industry, it’s hardly necessary. When un-retouched images emerge, they tend to be gorgeous anyway. Women’s magazine Verily has pledged never to Photoshop its models — and the results are incredibly gorgeous. The magazine’s editor Ashley Crouch told The Huffington Post: “the unique features of women, whether crows feet, freckles, or a less-than-rock-hard body, are aspects that contribute to women’s beauty and should be celebrated — not shamed, changed or removed.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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