Upon the release of Adweek‘s Apr. 4 issue, cover star Kerry Washington politely expressed her concerns on Instagram Tuesday night. She noticed that the cover’s Photoshop job has left her “weary” and unable to differentiate what she looks like on the magazine from what she actually sees in the mirror. You can read the entire statement below.
So…You know me. I’m not one to be quiet about a magazine cover. I always celebrate it when a respected publication invites me to grace their pages. It’s an honor. And a privilege. And ADWEEK is no exception. I love ADWEEK. It’s a publication I appreciate. And learn from. I’ve long followed them on Twitter. And when they invited me to do a cover, I was excited and thrilled. And the truth is, I’m still excited. I’m proud of the article. And I like some of the inside images a great deal. But, I have to be honest…I was taken aback by the cover. Look, I’m no stranger to Photoshopping. It happens a lot. In a way, we have become a society of picture adjusters – who doesn’t love a filter?!? And I don’t always take these adjustments to task but I have had the opportunity to address the impact of my altered image in the past and I think it’s a valuable conversation. Yesterday, however, I just felt weary. It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It’s an unfortunate feeling. That being said. You all have been very kind and supportive. Also, as I’ve said, I’m very proud of the article. There are a few things we discussed in the interview that were left out. Things that are important to me (like: the importance of strong professional support and my awesome professional team) and I’ve been thinking about how to discuss those things with anyone who is interested, in an alternate forum. But until then…Grab this week’s ADWEEK. Read it. I hope you enjoy it. And thank you for being patient with me while I figured out how to post this in a way that felt both celebratory and honest. XOXOXOX
When it comes to newly released magazine covers and editorials, both celebrities and their fans keep a sharp eye on the images, and are often quick to call out the publications that do more than the average Photoshop fixes. For example, Lena Dunham took to Instagram to voice accusations regarding her recent Tentaciones cover. (However, the actress later issued an apology, mentioning her “long and complicated history with retouching,” as well as swearing off Photoshop in a recent Lenny letter.) Gigi Hadid’s fans often criticize magazines, such as Vogue China, that constantly remove the model’s moles in post-production. Lorde once posted on Twitter to compare an edited photo of her skin because “flaws are ok.” Then there’s Britney Spears, who’s a little unrecognizable on the cover of V Magazine’s 100th issue.
This isn’t the first time a cover shoot starring Washington stirred some Photoshop controversy: In 2015, the March issue of InStyle featured the actress with a noticeably lighter skin tone, which caused an uproar among fans. The fashion publication later issued a statement assuring readers that Washington’s image was not digitally lightened. Back in 2013, the Scandalstar sported a choppy bob on the December cover of Lucky, which was met with a slew of disapproving comments on former Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen’s Instagram. Although this particular cover wasn’t called out for retouching, the more pressing issue was Lucky‘s supposed inaccurate representation of Washington.
Adweek was speedy to respond to Washington’s comments on Tuesday. “Kerry Washington is a class act. We are honored to have her grace our pages,” said Editorial Director James Cooper in a statement. “To clarify, we made minimal adjustments, solely for the cover’s design needs. We meant no disrespect, quite the opposite. We are glad she is enthusiastic about the piece and appreciate her honest comments.” On Twitter, Cooper expands upon those “minimal adjustments,” noting that they “added volume to hair for dramatic effect.”
In that case, we digress and leave you to be the judge.
By Maria Bobila