Jamie Lee Curtis, Unairbrushed in More Magazine
Jamie Lee Curtis - She's just like you and me!

I’m all for celebrities wanting to educate people about unrealistic body expectations created by the media. Remember that non-airbrushed photo of Jamie Lee Curtis in More a few years back? I felt so much better about myself after seeing that photo.

“There’s a reality to the way I look without my clothes on,” said Jamie Lee at the time. “I don’t have great thighs. I have very big breasts and a soft, fatty little tummy. And I’ve got back fat. People assume that I’m walking around in little spaghetti-strap dresses. It’s insidious — Glam Jamie, the Perfect Jamie, the great figure, blah, blah, blah. And I don’t want the unsuspecting 40-year-old women of the world to think that I’ve got it going on. It’s such a fraud. And I’m the one perpetuating it.”

Women everywhere — me included — stood up and cheered when she did that photo shoot. Since then, other “real” photos have surfaced, like these and these. Ok, so some of those celebrities look great in the before shots, but others? Let’s just say that Hollywood hasn’t been kind.

Now Britney Spears is jumping into the non-airbrushed fray with a series of before-and-after photos. Created by the British government, the campaign was started to teach kids that the celebrities they see in magazines and Web sites aren’t necessarily the real person. They’re airbrushed to the max, stretched, thinned, unblemished, and smoothed.

“Young people are being set an impossible standard by the images they are confronted with on a daily basis from the media and advertising, and there is evidence to suggest this has a negative impact on self-esteem,” says spokesperson Lynne Featherstone. “I want children to recognize their value is much more than physical appearance.”

I’m not sure Britney’s photos will have the same impact as Jamie Lee’s, partly because even in the non-airbrushed photo below, she looks pretty darn flawless. In fact, I’m not totally convinced there hasn’t been some touching up there. At least Jamie Lee looks like one of us, and I appreciate that. Then again, my idea of “perfect” is living healthfully and accepting yourself.

Any thoughts on Britney’s photo below or the concept, in general? Think it’ll make a difference for kids, or will they still have unrealistic expectations? Even in the un-airbrushed photo on the left, she clearly gets a LOT of help from trainers, nutritionists, massage therapists, etc. to look like that.

And by the way, this is not knocking Britney Spears at all. I think she’s done really well for herself in recent years and deserves an award for coming back from what was undoubtedly a very dark place.

Britney Spears Airbrushed
Will the real Britney Spears please sit down?


  1. I’m glad to see this. In fact, I think magazines should have to print in ads how OLD the models really are … because I’m guessing a lot of these “Girls” shown in “women’s magazines” are more like 14 years old.

    • I think that’s really true, Rox, that really young models are used for women’s magazines. Wouldn’t that be nice if the magazine had to put some sort of disclaimer on their ads? “Here’s the product, but note that the model is 14 years old and has been airbrushed to the max, so don’t expect to ever look like this.”

  2. it’s always a good idea to remember that there are real people –models, actors, musicians — behind the images. this emphaisis on releasing non airbrushed photo stuff seems to be another way to encourage concentration on the just image itself, however.

  3. I agree that these air-brushed images, making celebrities and models look flawless, are setting improper standards for the younger generation.


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