Healthy Magazine Makes "Unwell" Model Bigger


A British health magazine decided its April cover model looked “unwell.” So they retouched her to look 15-20 kg (33-44 pounds) heavier.

According to Roya Nikkhah of the Telegraph, the British health food and supplement company Holland & Barrett booked model Kamilla Wladyka for the April cover of its customer magazine Healthy. But editor Jane Druker apparently said at a May debate attended by models, photographers, agents and others, “She was so thin, we had to put on about half a stone” using graphical retouching. Another attendee at the debate says Druker later added that “the girl was so thin, they had to put 15 to 20 kilograms on her” — which is actually two to three stone, or 33 to 44 pounds.

This second figure makes Druker’s subsequent explanation even more suspect. She says,

Sometimes when you cast a model, they look OK, but then when they turn up on the shoot day, they might not have eaten for two or three days. You’re not in charge of their health.
When she did arrive, there were plenty of clothes that we couldn’t put on her because her bones stuck out too much. She looked beautiful in the face, but really thin and unwell.

Not eating for a few days isn’t going to make a model drop 30-plus pounds, or three dress sizes — Druker also says, “We made her legs a little bit bigger, to make her look like she was a size 10 as opposed to a size 4.” It’s pretty obvious that Healthy did much more than compensate for small fluctuations in Wladyka’s weight (which would have been questionable itself). Rather than actually booking the size 10 model they apparently wanted, they hired someone who was extremely slender and artificially made her look bigger.

Of course, maybe Healthy didn’t really want a size 10 woman. Some of the debate about the recent visibility of plus-size models has to do with the kind of plus that’s deemed acceptable by the magazine and fashion industries — not too big, hourglass figure, etc. Might Healthy have found it easier to take a very thin model and make her bigger in exactly the ways they wanted, rather than dealing with the actual body of a slightly larger woman? Such a woman might have had a few minuscule bulges to Photoshop away (we should note that a British size 10 is still quite thin, corresponding to an American size 6), and maybe it’s easier to add and subtract. Or maybe the editors at Healthy were just so used to extremely skinny models that they’re not sure how to go about casting someone slightly larger — and they’re not willing to do the work to find out.

Whatever the case, by radically Photoshopping Wladyka, Healthy created an image of “health” that does not exist in nature. And just like when Self did the same thing, they’re pretty hypocritical about it. Of the retouching, Druker says, “It’s not what we normally do and I would never want to mislead people.” But obviously misleading people is exactly what her magazine wanted to do in this instance, and in fact, the Telegraph wrote about the increasing popularity of Photoshopping models to look larger back in 2008. Whether they make them bigger or smaller, one thing is clear: magazines are still afraid to show women as they really are.

Image via Telegraph.

Health Food Magazine Airbrush Fattens Up Skinny Model [Telegraph]

Related: Now Fashion Mags Make Models ‘Fatter’ [Telegraph]

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