START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
1,307,189 people care about Women's Rights

The Camera Doesn’t Lie…Or Does It? Extreme Photo Retouching of “Plus-Size” Model

The Camera Doesn’t Lie…Or Does It? Extreme Photo Retouching of “Plus-Size” Model

Crystal Renn is one of today’s most successful working models.

If you’ve come across any of her latest work you might be surprised to learn that she is actually a “plus-size” model.

In fact, when photographers and designers meet her they are surprised by how small she is and often use photo retouching techniques to enhance her curves and make her appear bigger than she actually is.

However, last week pictures of the model looking strikingly svelte surfaced, starting rumors that Renn had lost a great deal of weight, but alas the art of photo retouching was really to blame – this time making her appear much, much thinner.

When I first saw the images I instantly felt angry and shocked (check out a comparison of the photos over at Jezebel). Why would such a beautiful woman who has constantly championed her “plus-size” body go to such an extreme? Was she sick? Had she fallen victim to an eating disorder again? To be honest, I started to worry.

Luckily, the pictures do not reflect reality and Renn was just as shocked and angry as I was when the images surfaced. Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive actually sat down with Renn to discuss the pictures and Renn’s open and honest discussion with Leive reaffirms her commitment to beauty at any size.

Here are some of my favorite highlights from Renn during their chat:

  • On seeing the images for the first time: “Well, I was shocked. When I saw the pictures, I think I was silent for a good five minutes, staring with my mouth open. I don’t know what was done to those photos or who did it, but they look retouched to me. And listen, everybody retouches, but don’t make me into something I’m not.” [Photographer Nicholas Routzen admits that he "shaped" the image and says he "did nothing that I wouldn’t do to anyone. I’m paid to make women look beautiful."]

  • On the body the pictures show her to have: “…that body doesn’t look like my body. It doesn’t. Having had an eating disorder, I know what that very thin body looks like on me, and it’s not something I find attractive. It’s not something I aspire to.”

  • On her former body as a straight model: “Back then, you could see ribs everywhere. My legs, not only did they not touch, I mean there was nothing to grab. It was just skin and bone. And that goes for my arms as well. Thank God I don’t look anything like that now.”

  • On breaking the thin-beauty ideal: “I absolutely do believe in beauty at every size…And for that girl who’s thinking she has to be so thin to be accepted? You don’t. It’s not true. I starved myself to be successful, when in fact my real success only came when I became more confident.”

  • On the power of confidence: “The other reason I get treated with respect now, though, is my confidence…People are way more accepting of me now that I accept myself. And that’s not only true for work, but that’s true in everyday life.”

  • On her vision for the future of fashion: “Right now, you might see a runway show with all these girls who are size 2s, and then one who’s a size 16—that means you really notice size. Well, imagine you see a runway show where you see all different types: petite, tall, black, white, Asian, everybody’s in there. You’re just going to see beautiful women. There’d be no more weight debate…I guess you could say it’s quite grandiose, but I don’t care. I have to believe that what I say matters.”

And that’s the beauty of Ms. Crystal Renn. She does believe that what she says matters and it does. She could have stayed silent when she saw the images but she cared enough to continue to share her message of body acceptance and beauty at every size. If more models (plus-size or otherwise) did this too it could be a completely different world.

Maybe my vision is grandiose too, but I have to believe what I say matters too.


Read more: , , , , , , , ,

photo credit: thanks to tibchris via flickr

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
1:55AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thank you.

1:54AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thank you.

1:54AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thank you.

1:53AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thank you.

9:50AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

I genuinely think she looks tons better before the photoshopping. She's not even plus-size, but I do think she's a positive role-model for 'bigger' women everywhere.

5:26AM PDT on May 11, 2011

I hate PhotoShop.

1:17AM PST on Jan 16, 2011

I do not know maybe this is why the grandmother I am Polish but I see that a woman accepts his figure was not what it is and it's all cool because we have so few people who do

8:18AM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

Both look ghastly anyway...

4:47PM PDT on Oct 3, 2010

Thin is not in!

7:07PM PDT on Sep 25, 2010


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

how old does an unborn fetus have to be before the GOP considers it an "anchor baby"? good question…

If there's anything we have learned from Anonymous, it's that electronics can be hacked. Of course ballots…

Nice to hear some good news.

ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!