Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nip, Tuck, and WTF?

Since we are fans of the roundup over here, we've got a new one for you. It's been a busy summer for the Dr. 90210s of the world. Check out the latest and greatest in plastic surgery news:

A new study reveals that British women are more likely than American women to have plastic surgery to please their partners. "One British 39-year-old barmaid told me that her husband's criticism of her figure prompted her to have abdomniplasty [a 'tummy tuck']," said researcher Debra Gimlin. "She said it wouldn't have entered her mind otherwise, but after she'd had her second child her husband said: 'I love the wee ones but I wish having them hadn't ruined your figure.'" Has this guy picked up his Husband of the Year Award yet? [Guardian]

Plastic surgeons heart Extreme Makeover. In a study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 4 out of 5 people reported that television directly influenced them to pursue a cosmetic surgery procedure. [American Society of Plastic Surgeons]

Eyelash transplants? For $6,000 you can get yourself a new pair, but you'll have to trim them regularly to avoid a Rapunzel effect. This procedure was originally developed for trauma patients. Surprise, surprise: the ladies love it, too. Has Penelope Cruz scheduled hers yet? [CBS News] via [Jezebel]

Want Botox? No problem. Want to get checked out for skin cancer? You might want to get in line. A typical wait for a Botox treatment is just eight days. But if you need a doc to examine a mole, you'll have to wait 26. “The difference in wait times between medical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology patients is clearly real,” said Dr. Jack S. Resneck Jr., assistant professor of dermatology at the medical school of the University of California, San Francisco. “We need to look further and figure out what is leading to shorter wait times for cosmetic patients.” Yes, please do. In the meantime, we'll be wearing our sun hats and SPF. [NY Times]

When she was just 12 years old, Brooke Bates got liposuction and a tummy tuck. She gained the weight back. This year, her parents allowed her to get lap band surgery. They couldn't find a doctor in the U.S. who would perform the surgery on a 13-year-old, so the family took a trip down to Mexico. After the first procedures, which cost $25,000, Brooke said she "went from the big, fat girl to the popular girl. Then I gained weight back and it was depressing. But now that I had the lap band done, everything is just working out great." We know that girls face intense pressures to be thin and fit in, but we wish the adults in Brooke's life would help her to understand that plastic surgery is not the magic ticket to confidence and happiness. [ABC News]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fashion Statement: Katie Grand

There's no denying it--Katie Grand is in demand. She has styled shows for Prada, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton and Proenza Schouler. She's created looks for Madonna, Drew Barrymore, and Scarlett Johansson. Last week, she was named creative director of Mulberry. On top of all that cred, Grand is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Britain's Pop magazine. The new "Sirens" issue of Pop is due to hit newsstands this Thursday and the buzz is big. Just before New York and London are invaded by Fashion Week super-skinnies, Grand is challenging the industry to size up its definition of true style. Her models include The Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto, Yoko Ono, and Lily Allen. "None of them are traditional women in any way. I like the fact that none of them are traditional sample sizes," she says. Vogue calls her a "fashion superwoman." We would have to agree. [The Independent]

Submit your own Fashion Statement. 5resolutions[at]insidebeauty[dot]org

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mom Jeans: Heidi Klum-Style

Women were doing some head scratching this week after the new Jordache Jeans ad campaign was announced to the media. The one big question on everyone's minds (aside from Jordache? They still make those?) is how Heidi Klum manages to look like this after giving birth to three children:

Take it from another model/mom: Heidi has an army of stylists, makeup artists and various other assistants who are paid to create smokin' hot images of her rocking those skinny jeans. Oh, and there's that little retouching trick that advertisers rely on. So ladies, please give yourselves a break. Heidi is not letting it all hang out at the Chateau Marmont in real life. She's hanging out at the park. With her kids. [Fame Crawler]

Baby Bumps and Skinny Jeans

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Keira Knightley's Cocos Get Puffed

Keira Knightley appears in a new Chanel ad for Coco Mademoiselle with a little extra boobage up top. Today it is being reported that the actress admitted "those things certainly weren't mine."

This example is the latest in a string of retouching exposures that have made headlines in the last year. And this is not the first time Keira's bust has been pumped up.

In fact, Keira uttered exactly the same "certainly weren't mine" line last year when discussing the enhancement she got (which she likened to "your grandmother's droopy t***") for the 2004 King Arthur movie poster. She has long been aware that digital boob jobs are par for the course when you happen to be an A-cup A-lister. "I did one magazine and discovered that you're not actually allowed to be on a cover in the U.S. without at least a C cup because it turns people off." [Daily Mail]

UPDATE: The quote sounds exactly the same because it is exactly the same. Today's reports about Keira's Chanel confession recycled the quote from her 2006 interview. But we still think it's safe to assume that there's some boob illusion going on in the new ad, even without confirmation from the actress. [MSN]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Baby Bumps and Skinny Jeans

Tent dresses might be the fashion trend of the summer, but women with little Juniors-to-be camping out under that extra fabric just want to get back in their skinny jeans. Or so says Meredith Nash, an Australian researcher who is exploring how the celebrity bump watch phenomenon is affecting pregnant women and new moms.

"Every single woman in my study mentioned that getting back into her jeans was a primary goal," says Nash. She has also found that subjects who regularly read tabloids are more likely to describe themselves as "fat" than those who do not follow celebrity culture, and feel heightened pressure to lose their baby weight quickly after delivery. [The Baby Bump Project] [The Globe and Daily Mail]

Hmmm, where is all that pressure coming from, we wonder?

"In four months, I’ve lost almost all my baby weight. I’m feeling really good. I just got back into my regular jeans yesterday.”
--Tori Spelling [Access Hollywood]

Bonus: Check out the video, where Access correspondent Maria Menounos suggests that Tori should sign on to do "Dancing With the Stars" after her second baby because it would be a good way to (what else?) lose weight. Is Tori being bump stalked for #2 already? Jeez, give an innkeeper a break already.

Mom Jeans: Heidi Klum-Style

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fashion Statement: James De La Vega

This photo was snapped on St. Marks Place in NYC on August 11th. [Jezebel]

Judging by the signature, we'll take a guess that this is the work of artist and "sidewalk philosopher" James De La Vega. Hey, it's public art and a Fashion Statement.

Submit your own Fashion Statement. 5resolutions[at]insidebeauty[dot]org

Girl POV: Tayla, Age 14

Reading statistics on how media images influence girls is one thing. But we all need to listen extra carefully when girls describe these pressures in their own words. Fourteen-year-old Tayla wrote to us about her dream of starting a camp for tween and teen girls next summer. Tayla is recovering from anorexia and she wants to find a way to use her own experience to reach out to other girls. We invited her to submit a post. Here is what she had to say:

With all the media images and fake information that tells teenagers they are "supposed" to look a certain way, it can be hard to stay true to your inner self. It's just disturbing to know that the models have to be digitally fixed by the computer. I heard that it only takes 3 minutes to look at a fashion or gossip magazine and people start to feel bad about themselves. These magazines are putting impossible images into the world and it is affecting tons of people, especially women and teenage girls. The type of magazine that I would like to see would be one that focuses on every body type and how women love their bodies just the way they are.

I want to let everyone know about a camp that my Mom and I would really love to open. It's a camp in New Hampshire where girls around the ages 10-15 can come and learn to love their bodies and themselves.

When we first had the idea to start this camp, we were just taking an everyday walk with our dogs near our home, and we really wanted to do something to help girls. I was diagnosed with anorexia in 2005. I have gone through lots of ups and downs and have had very tough times but I am healing and becoming better day-by-day. I hope I never see any girl have to go through what I went through and I know it was very hard on my family. By starting this camp, I hope to guide the girls away from the media images and toward their own unique beauty and inner self.

My mom I and have found tons of great [resources] that include Full of Ourselves, Girls Speak Out, and Turn Beauty Inside Out. We hope to take all of our great books and combine them together to form a unique format for us to follow! We would hope for the camp to be open for the first time in the 2008 summer! We would just like to start small for the first year, so a 10- day session for 5-7 girls would be max. We hope to find a professional speaker to come in and speak to our girls about body image and self-esteem, and other local artists, nutritionists, and teen mentors to share their knowledge! There would also be activities such as camping outdoors, canoeing, hiking, swimming, day trips, and more!

We wish Tayla and her mom the best of luck in getting their camp going. If you have any words of encouragement for Tayla or resources to recommend, please post your comments. Do you work in beauty or fashion? What advice can you offer to her and other teen girls who feel discouraged when they can't measure up to the images of perfection?

You can also send your messages
here. We will be sure to forward them on to Tayla.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fashion Statement: Magali Amadei

This is me on the cover of Cosmopolitan, back when they actually put models on the covers of women's magazines. My hair is so perfectly windswept. My boobs are so...huge. Thanks to some chicken cutlets in the bustier (it's the oldest fashion trick in the book, people), some cleavage taping and "airbrushing" (For all you youngsters: that's what they called it before Photoshop was a household name), I look like a canary-clad vixen ready to take on the world. Pictures can be deceiving.

Actually, I was too busy bingeing and purging to take on much of anything in those days. I was bulimic through the height of my modeling career. Every time I saw myself on the cover of a magazine, I marveled that I was able to make it through the photo shoot. I felt like a fraud. So in 1999, after I took a time out to get myself healthy, I decided to tell the story that never came through in any of those pictures. I haven't shut up since.

I still work as a model. Just call me the Energizer Bunny. I don't blame the fashion industry for causing my eating disorder, but I do talk about the fact that it was the absolute worst place for a 17-year-old bulimic perfectionist to have found herself. I have a daughter now. I want her to grow up with a strong self-esteem and a complete understanding of how all the glossy fantasies are created. I want to see changes in the fashion and beauty industries, too. In a way, the 5 Resolutions are a wish list. I think anyone in the industry can follow them, and I'll keep doing this work until everyone does. Believe me when I tell you that I can keep going, and going, and going...

Submit your own Fashion Statement. 5resolutions[at]insidebeauty[dot]org

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Year in (Retouched) Pictures

Without further ado, here's a roundup of our favorite Extreme Photoshop makeovers of the last year.

Let's journey back to last August, when Katie Couric was about to take over as anchor of the CBS Evening News. The network ran a nice little "welcome aboard" story in CBS Watch magazine, accompanied by the photo on the right. Big (as in about 10 pounds too big) problem: they had already released the photo on the left to the news media months before. Oops.

As the autumn leaves started changing, we also felt some change in the air. In an episode of Ugly Betty, Betty accidentally leaks un-retouched photos of a popular actress. The horror! Despite the fashionista freak outs, the photos are published and in the end it's a feel-good, body image-boosting lovefest. We got all misty-eyed. And we got even more excited when we saw this video, created by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty:

By spring, there was a whole new variety of digital alteration blooming. It turns out this retouching thing isn't just for the ladies anymore. Andy Roddick got some Incredible Hulk treatment for the June cover of Men's Fitness, which the tennis star himself said was pretty laughable:

And summertime rolled right back around with this Rebook retouching job, uncovered by the intrepid ladies over at Jezebel:

It's been a strange year for retouchers. All this exposure goes against the nature of their jobs. Even the most sought-after retoucher in the world admits that he prefers to work under the radar. “I never want to talk about my work, because it's kind of taboo,'' Pascal Dangin told Kate Betts in a rare 2003 interview. "The people who benefit from my work do not benefit from me talking about it.'' True that. But in our experience, good things happen when taboos are broken. So now that the wrinkles, blemishes, and fleshy parts are out of the bag, will those images of perfection still hold the same power?

When magazine editors and advertisers defend themselves by saying that retouching is an industry standard, consumers should listen closely because they're telling the truth. Up until recently, the biggest problem with this standard was that it was so hush-hush. Thankfully, those days are over. The industry has finally been forced to fess up to the fact that, whether you agree or disagree, this is how it's done.

We talk to a lot of girls and young women in our work, and most of them have heard about retouching. Usually they envision it as something along the lines of the digital pimple zapping they might get for a high school yearbook portrait. What they don't know (and what we find most dangerous) is how frequently it's used in the media--and how extensively. If you haven't already, share everything you know about retouching with the girls in your lives. The sooner, the better.

In fashion and beauty, "aspirational" is a much-used buzz word that translates into the glossy fantasies that are just far enough out of reach to create the kind of longing that sells magazines, moisturizer, and mascara. And it's all fun and games until we start looking at these numbers:

The Supergirl Dilemma
, a 2006 study conducted by Girls Inc., reveals that 54% of girls in grades 3-5, 74% of girls in grades 6-8, and 76% of girls in grades 9-12 worry about their appearance.

These worries are just as intense for girls across the pond. According to a new U.K. study, 40% of 14-to-15-year-old girls admitted they don't eat breakfast and 25% of those girls also skip lunch. Over 50% of them listed their appearance as their number one concern in life.

It's time to step back from the chicken or the egg arguments for a second ("We're just responding to consumer and celebrity demands," says the industry. "We're brainwashed to crave those phony images. What we really want is more diversity," say consumers). Whatever you believe, the bottom line is that we adults can analyze, criticize, and form our own logical opinions about the issue. Meanwhile, girls are getting sucked into the perfection obsession at younger and younger ages with little understanding of the difference between fantasy and reality. Retouched images aren't entirely to blame for this crisis, but can anyone honestly deny that they play a role? Here's the question: If retouching continues to be an industry standard, how can we make sure that a responsibility to younger generations is an industry standard, too?