You've always known there was some amount of retouching and Photoshop magic that goes into making Victoria's Secret models look so...perfect. Of course they're models so they won the genetic lottery, but no one is that poreless, has hair that full and smooth, or boobs that high and pushed together (hi, gravity!) And now it looks like the retouching is even crazier than you could have ever expected.
In an interview with Refinery29, an anonymous retoucher, the site calls her "Sarah," spills the beans on what really goes on behind closed Victoria's Secret doors. Of course this is all allegedly, we don't know this person, and Victoria's Secret declined to comment to R29. Still, it sounds pretty legit. Sarah told R29 that she wants people to understand that women's bodies do not look like that, but also that we as consumers play a big part in what we see in advertisements. (More on that later.) Here's what we learned from the interview:
1. Everyone is wearing hair extensions. "I don't think I ever was on a shoot with a model that had real hair," Sarah told R29. So, don't stress if your hair is never as big and full as you see on VS models.
2. Shaping pads go into bathing suits and bras to alter women's chests. Not only is hair not that full, boobs aren't that full either. "If you hold up the bathing suit in your own hand, it's so heavy because they have all this s*** sewed into it," Sarah said.
3. Models wear bras under bathing suits. One of the most shocking things Sarah told R29 is how often models wear push-up bras under bathing suits, even strapless ones. Then, the bra gets Photoshopped out, but the push-up effect is still there. "When you're wearing a strapless bikini, in no way, shape, or form [can] you have cleavage," said Sarah. "It's physically impossible with the way gravity works."
4. Boobs are made rounder and larger. After the photo is taken, Sarah said she was often asked to make model's boobs higher and rounder and larger. "They all have [size] As," she revealed.
5. Sometimes retouchers ADD weight to models. If you've ever wondered how a model can be so thin and curvy at the same time, it might be the magic of Photoshop. Sarah says she was asked to make butts more plump.
6. Victoria's Secret tried curvier models. "One time, during a swim season, they had these two girls come in that had abs and thick thighs and busts," Sarah told R29. "But they didn't sell anything and so they stopped using those girls."
7. It's not just Victoria's Secret. Most brands, including plus-sized ones, are allegedly guilty of extreme retouching. This applies to people you see on Instagram, too. "When you're manipulating the light and the camera angle like that, that's technically retouching, because you're manipulating something to look as if it's something it's really, truly not in real life," explains Sarah.
In the end, businesses are all about making money. They have to be. Which is why we as consumers need to shop stores that are doing the things we want to see. If you want to see curvier models and a retailer starts using them, start shopping there. Then, other brands will see it's working and start jumping on the bandwagon.
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