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Harper's Bazaar: Au Naturel

Fresh on the heels of Elle France's stunt back in April, Harper's Bazaar has an editorial featuring some of the most famous models in the world appearing without makeup and with no photo retouching.

We have opinions.










Our opinion? Much like Vogue's "All Black" issue, this is nothing more than a stunt to make the beauty industry look deeper and more responsible than it actually is. Sure, they're not wearing makeup and the photos haven't been retouched. They're also famous the world over for being some of the most beautiful women alive and they're being lovingly lit and photographed by a leading photographer (Peter Lindbergh). What are we, as readers, supposed to take away from a stunt like this? That they all have great bone structure? We knew that already. Is this supposed to make the average woman identify with them somehow? If so, FAIL. They're all still amazingly beautiful women even when the artifice is stripped away.

What makes this almost laughable is that each of these world-famous beauties offers a beauty secret and none of them had the nerve to say "Good genes." No, instead it's all yoga and yogurt, which is particularly egregious because they're giving the appearance of not being artificial while offering up completely artificial "tips" to women who will never, no matter how much yoga they do or how much money they spend on anti-aging creams, look like these women.

It's also of interest that these are all women in their 30s and 40s, which is normally the has-been period of a model's career (if she even has a career at all at that point). You're not going to see the 19-year-olds posing for an editorial like this because they've got too much on the line to risk it. Most of these women are household names at this point and some of them are retired, so they're not really risking anything, really.

But, we're supposed to think they're "brave" for doing this and we're supposed to applaud the industry's willingness to rip away the veil of artificiality. Bullshit. Nothing will change and the industry will go right back to presenting impossibly beautiful women day after day, month after month. And we're not even saying there's anything wrong with that. It's called the beauty industry for a reason, after all. All we're saying is that it's a stunt and like all stunts it's interesting for a moment or two, but after that it fades away into meaninglessness. Don't pretend to be something you're not, beauty industry. It's insulting.


[Images: Models.com]


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88 comments:

I enjoyed this thread simply for the opportunity to see some of my favorite "senior" models. These girls can still work it.

TampaBay


my thoughts EXACTLY. I would also have liked to see this in color and not black and white. Then maybe we would see some imperfections. I would like to see the "just woke up" editorial.


This looks more like the casting sheet for "She's Got the Look"


These women are so unbelievably photogenic. That's ultimately what separates them from the crowd. There are lots of pretty women who don't photograph well.


Hmm, a cynical morning boys? Your comments rins true, and yet I am glad to see any attempt to show that the pictures you normally see of these women are NOT their normal look. If even one young woman or girl sees these and says to herself, "Oh, maybe I'm not so bad after all" it is worth it. I think a lot of our girls really believe the models and actresses look gorgeous naturally and all the time, and how could they possibly compare to that. My 7 year old granddaughter is already wetting down and slicking down with bobby pins and headbands her gorgeous naturally curly hair to try to look like a certain image. No amount of family talk can convince her she is much prettier natural. I hope this passes quickly. :-(


Agreed. Still, it's nice to see some freckles sometimes.


I hear you, TLo. The antiaging tips are particularly laughable given that these ladies have HUGE maintenance costs beyond eating yogurt or avoiding dairy, and doing yoga. Facials, huge amounts of hair care, personal trainers, personal chefs, the list I'm sure includes things that I can't even think of. The spread is, quite simply, just another way to sell cosmetics.

That having been said, they are beautiful. This doesn't make me feel inadequate. I can admire them and not buy the products, anyway.


TampaBay said, "I enjoyed this thread simply for the opportunity to see some of my favorite "senior" models. These girls can still work it.

Ditto. (I love everything about Shalom Harlow.) But you boys are right...it's just a stunt in the end. Still- nice photos, naturally.


I do agree with TLo that the beauty industry trying to be all down-to-earth and real and these women are so brave is a load of bull.
Good point also about all of these ladies being past their modeling prime.
Something like this really serves to satisfy our curiosity about what these women look like without all the make-up and retouching, even if the lighting here is obviously used to their advantage. It's still fun to look at these photos. I feel like I'm seeing something I shouldn't be seeing.

Also, while it's very true that these women are all WELL above average in terms of attractiveness (that's one of the reasons they're models and we're not), I still think it's good for all of us to see that they're not PERFECT. Beautiful yes, perfect no. Maybe we can be a little less harsh with ourselves when we look in the mirror.

As a woman in the 30-40 age bracket, I do appreciate seeing un-photoshopped models around my own age, especially as I have resolved to continue to love my appearance and cherish my individuality no matter what, even as the fine lines and stray grays continue to appear.


Wow. I really enjoyed these photos. The furthest thing from my mind would be to see this as "insulting." I just don't get that. It's just a magazine, I really don't take it personally or feel like I'm being hoodwinked by a "stunt." Nice to see something different among the monthly fashion magazines.


My objection was more basic: they are all wearing make-up. They may not have on foundation, but they are all wearing lipstick, eyeliner, a touch of mascara. I know the difference between when I wake up in the morning and when I leave the house wearing these few cosmetics is tremendous and I know it makes a difference for them as well. If they want to show that all it really takes is great bone structure or that models really are beautiful under all the make-up (and that is what I took from the piece) then they should go all the way.
- The High Femme Gentleman


I disagree on one point - some of these women look remarkably average without makeup. Kristen & Tatiana show that any average woman can look beautiful with good enough photo quality.

But I do agree with TLo on the "beauty tips" things. I hate it when models or actresses are asked for their "secrets". It's always such bullshit. They usually say something about yoga and eating right, when the reality is starving, serious work outs and a dermatologist and hair stylist on staff.


Well, it's also fake in the sense that they ARE wearing makeup, just not glamour makeup. Same with the "Sans Fards" issue of French Elle. Just because they're not wearing color and pancake makeup doesn't mean they're completely natural, regardless of whatever bullshit the mag is trying to feed you. Bare skin simply does not photograph the same, and gee, funny many of these models have a telltale wrinkle or two showing through while the rest of their face is completely smooth. The only one who probably actually looks like that is Cindy Crawford. She has been obsessed with skin care since her 20's, and having seen her once semi-recently in real life I have to say she still looked like she was in her late 20's, too.


COMPLETELY agree on the "secrets to looking beautiful." The big secret is: pick your parents well.

Love the expression on the last pic.


Meredith said what I was thinking -- these photos should be in color!

Thinking back to your Julie & Julia post: this post is a perfect example of the difference between TLo and Julie Powell. The point of this blog is sometimes to point and laugh at the excesses of the fashion industry, but there is a lot more going on here. Your insights and analysis are intelligent, pointed, and instructive. After reading the "Julie/Julia Project" blog, you'd know a lot about Julie Powell and perhaps a little about Julia Child and maybe a little bit more about French cooking. Spend a year reading TLo and you'll develop critical facilities for assessing the role of fashion and beauty in our culture... all while having a great time.

I didn't say it before and I was remiss -- thank you for your great work.


Very good point, High Femme Gentlemen. Looking again, I definitely see eye makeup. So it's not even "au naturel"? I have even less use for it than i did before.

pthpthpthpthpthpth, harper's


Cindy Crawford really isn't wearing eye shadow and eyebrow color? Really?


These photos are beautiful but I'm pretty sure if I had the same lighting and photographer I'd look pretty decent myself.

Now, put these women with no makeup under the harsh lighting of a Walmart bathroom and let's see if they're still as beautiful.


Also, I'm not convinced some of those women are wearing no makeup at all. Maybe they just meant "not wearing the full makeup you'd usually wear for a photo shoot."


Ah, I see I'm not the first person to notice they are wearing some makeup. Sorry, should have read the other comments first.


Thinking back to your Julie & Julia post: this post is a perfect example of the difference between TLo and Julie Powell. The point of this blog is sometimes to point and laugh at the excesses of the fashion industry, but there is a lot more going on here. Your insights and analysis are intelligent, pointed, and instructive. After reading the "Julie/Julia Project" blog, you'd know a lot about Julie Powell and perhaps a little about Julia Child and maybe a little bit more about French cooking. Spend a year reading TLo and you'll develop critical facilities for assessing the role of fashion and beauty in our culture... all while having a great time.

I didn't say it before and I was remiss -- thank you for your great work.



******
Reprinting the whole thing because it was brilliant. WORD Joan. You pegged the difference between Julie Powell and the boys so brilliantly - I wanted to post this yesterday but couldn't put my finger on what exactly the difference is. This is it.

What she said.


Nadia Auermann is clearly wearing mascara. "No makeup" my ass.


Black and white photography is very forgiving. If they wanted to be honest, they should have done it in color, where every line, wrinkle, dark circle, blemish and freckle would be more pronounced. You were totally right with everything you said, especially that these women were professionally lit and photographed. And, I'm sure if you saw these women sans makeup in real life, real lighting and in color, you would probably not even give most of them a second glance. I saw Uma Thurman, who everyone is always saying is so beautiful, on the street in NY with an au naturel look, and let's just say, there's a lot to be said for makeup and good lighting.


Say it, gentlemen!


Yeah, wouldn't it have been refreshing if just one of them had said "mostly good genes, aided by regular visits to the dermatologist, hair salon and gym, and some minor "procedures" starting in the late 30's if not before . . ."


Cindy Crawford has more eye makeup on in this "natural" picture than I wear when I'm going out.


BRAVO


I take something different away from this kind of article. While I agree it is a stunt by the beauty industry, I think it reflects a new attitude in the consumer of fashion. We, the audience for all this art, are becoming more and more aware of its artifice and are beginning to be bored by perfection and the stereotypical. So I do have hope that things are changing: if we aren't buying it, they will have to sell it in a different way. Even this rant by TLo is hopeful.


No way no how does Cindy Crawford not have makeup on. There is too much shadowy. Especially on the eyelids. The others I agree had no makeup.


What makes the most impression on me is that the under-eye bags or circles that most people have in one form or another have gone unretouched. I think that's what surprised my eye the most.

Lovely photos, but not really proving much of anything.


They're great shots but all they tell me is two things: a- these women rightly deserve to be called supermodels because they are beautiful, even without faces full of makeup and endless retouching. And b- I need to get this photographer and his lighting crew for the next time anyone wants a photo of me because clearly he can cover a multitude of sins! (Which I'm sure these ladies have, and which I'm sure would not have made them look any less beautiful).


Yes, it's a "stunt" but isn't all fashion photography, really? This is no more insulting to me than most of the stuff I see in fashion magazines. Okay, it's a little bit insulting to claim that they're not wearing make-up when they clearly are. That's lame. Let's go all or nothing, gals. And perhaps I would be more pissed off if I read the article and saw the bogus fashion tips. One thing that always burns me up is when virtually every interview with models or actresses make a big point of mentioning how they're eating high-calorie meals like burgers and fries and blithely say that they always eat like this, they just have a good metabolism. Bullshit. Everybody knows that's a lie. I just wish that an interviewer would call foul, just once.

Amber, Helen and Cindy look the best. Tatiania and Kristen the worst. Kristen actually looks pretty ugly but her freakishness was always part of her appeal, I guess.


One thing everyone can take away from this is that nothing adds to beauty like a genuine smile.


THANK YOU for calling bullsh!t on these models being 'brave'. I haaaate it when celebs or models are called 'brave' for doing something different.

I shall now rant:
No, people. Bravery is running into a burning building; bravery is what our soldiers exemplify; bravery is a first responder running towards trouble when I am going to run away cause I am a wuss. Bravery is NOT some chick posing without makeup.

Ranting complete. Ah...feeling good.


Amen! And I love how you point out that none of them say they owe their looks to good genes. When I'm complimented on my skin, I always say I won the genetic Lotto and thank my parents.

I want to see what they look like when they've been up late drinking or watching a movie and eating Doritos and then have to get up early the next day to go make breakfast for the kids and go to work. The second they get out of that bed -- THAT'S when I want to see what they look like.


Thanks TLo (mwah!), another ed that I wanted to see TLo-ized. Miss Glenda turned herself out this month, with this along with Susan Boyles' and a few other eds, this is turning out to be one of the most talked about Harper's Bazaar issues in recent memory.

I know it's a stunt, but I still like this ed. The only thing that bugs me in terms of the au naturel hype is that the photographs are in black and white. Still it is brave of these models to let their butt nekkid faces be photographed.

Enough has been put out about the artifice and what goes into making models and actresses look good in photos and on the red carpet that I think that some of the responsibility has shifted to individuals and the parents of minors regarding any self esteem issues that come about from the images that we see of the beautiful people. Make no mistake about it, I think that the fashion industry and the celebrity industrial complex need to be called on their crap early and often, but it is not a completely one sided deal.


Meh. It's a pictorial that's in a fashion/beauty magazine. I don't think that its intent was to come off as "deep" but to sell magazines, sell cosmetics, and sell clothes. I mean, that's what these magazines do. As a result, anything, and I mean anything, is tailored to that end. So, duh.

No one hear is really being mislead, so it's not exactly an attempt to deceive the public, but a new angle on the same shtick. It's not meant to say that you can be as beautiful as these supermodels. Otherwise, the headline would read "beauty tips from regular women wearing no makeup." But no, it says "supermodels supernatural."

I hate to be critical of you guys, but in the end, "who cares?" If what you guys wrote got analyzed ad infinitem, I'm sure that there are those that would accuse of similar sins. Just chalk this one up to just another recycled idea to sell magazines (I mean hell, it's not like this hasn't been done before).


Actually, I do relate to them. I think now that maybe with a great photographer and some makeup I could qualify as at least a little pretty. "Insulting" is a little overdramatic; I don't get the impression they're claiming the models are "brave" to go without makeup. They keep their bodies by eating yogurt and exercising-- fair enough! Good to know the bodies and skin don't come entirely for free! And if they don't quote their genes as the main reason they are beautiful, it's because it's both obvious and discouraging to readers. "Oh, I was just born pretty. Sucks to be you!" I am happier they admitted to working to keep themselves shiny-perfect on magazine covers.


Very interesting take on this TLo. I agree with the stunt factor and the call out the utter bogus-ness of "yogurt and yoga" instead of "genes and expensive maintenance".

However, I was listening to a discussion this morning about the hypocrisy of Self magazine photoshopping 40 pounds off some young singer. I really think the time has come for a magazine that does not photoshop any of its images. They wouldn't be able to do much about the advertisers, at first, but if it was a hit they would come around.

You guys are aware of the negative impact of the fashion and advertising industries on women. You know that what we are seeing is (usually, but not always) a parade of severe eating disorders. I personally stopped buying any fashion mag many years ago because of their insistence on uniformly using extremely thin women, and then photoshopping on top of it. If this kind of occasional "stunt" gets a positive response, maybe the industry will change. I hope so.


You guys are dead on. Thanks for sanding up for us normal gals!
Are you sure Cindy and Nadja are not wearing mascara or a little eyeliner??


Sigh. The most prevalent eating disorder in this country, by far, is overeating. People always claim "Looking at supermodels makes young girls want to starve themselves!!!" yet there far more obese teenage girls in this country than anorexic or bulimic ones. Let's concentrate on real body issues and not the tired "Models are thin!" thing that's been bandied around for 20+ years now. You know, the same 20 years obesity rates have risen dramatically.


I feel like I harp on the same issue, but here it goes again. A similar thing goes here as with other situation of privilege. People who are 'good' looking do not see it as a privilege that they are born in a society that values their cheek bones and body proportions. They believe their fame is all attributed to their work, that's why they name yoga and other activities instead of their cheek bones and height - both of which are not something they've earned. People have this complex that their money, fame, status are all earned based on their work, what they don't realize is that much of it has to do with what is given to them at birth and societal attributions.

My other 2 cents are, a part of me feel that this doesn't do too much to bridge the gap between the fashion industry and the "average" woman. But another part of me feel like this is the slow transition to actually having the 'average' woman walking down the catwalk or being featured on the cover of Harper's Bazaar. You start at the top with the elite, people slowly see it as okay to be just themselves then, and this is okay with me.

Frankly, being brave is overrated, none of us are brave unless we have to be. I hope one of these days none of us would have to be brave, at least when it comes to things like this.


Yeah they still look great without make-up and retouching but I'd like to see them in colour without their hair done...literally rolled out of bed (not for $10,000 in this case).


One thing I wanna point out is the fact that these photos are in black and white, not color. How can we tell how bad a model's skin discoloration is if the photo is not in color? Plus as a photographer I know that 99% of people look much better in black and white than they do in color!!!! But what really pisses me off is the fact that harpers bazaar thought that this needed it's own editorial. It would have been much more interesting incorporated into a fashion shoot not a beauty shoot, and it would have been more statment making.


*golf clap*

Well said, TLo. As usual, you are so right.


You are not even female so how can you comment so confidently on how the average female will relate to this piece. Why shouldn't these women be proud to be naturally beautiful AND offer more realistic beauty advice than "sorry we have perfect genes." Just curious but how do you know that they don't work hard to maintain there painstakingly public image? Also, Meredith, black and white photos often show more actual skin imperfections than colored film, which just shows any momentary skin discoloration.


Absolutely a stunt...but I choose to be please that at least they're trying to fool us. Perhaps the honesty will follow.

To me, the most egregious "false photography" problem is the proliferation of false eyelashes in mascara ads.

Shame about Nadja Auerman's nose.


Gee, perhaps I'm overly influenced by retouching, but Kristen, Tatiana, and esp. Nadia look quite a bit older than the women I know in their early 40s. (I'm in my 30s.) Sun damage? Excessive skinniness?


Love the post - agree with it wholeheartedly. I don't think genes are the whole story though. Consider this:

A CHEMICAL PEEL is a popular facial skin care technique which provides facial rejuvenation benefits by removing the skin's top layers to reduce the appearance of sun damage, uneven pigmentation, and wrinkles.

INTENSE PULSED LIGHT (IPL™) is a facial rejuvenation treatment that can be used to address the effects of sun damage, heredity, and aging on facial skin. Skin imperfections such as wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, freckles, rosacea, facial veins, brown spots, and enlarged pores can be eliminated or greatly improved with IPL™ Photofacial treatments.

LASER SKIN RESURFACING removes the outer layers of the skin that are damaged or unevenly pigmented. Laser skin resurfacing is also used to eliminate or reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the face and neck. A fresher, smoother, and more evenly colored complexion can be achieved with this procedure.

LASER SKIN TIGHTENING is an advanced wrinkle removal treatment that uses infrared light to tighten the skin without surgery.

MICRODERMABRASION can effectively remove or diminish age spots and light acne scars.

Many women are turning to PERMANENT MAKEUP to complement their facial rejuvenation treatments. Permanent makeup provides an alternative to applying and removing makeup every day.


How very refreshing to hear a spade called a spade for a change.


I enjoyed these pictures. These women are clearly beautiful even without all the goop, and that's nice to see. However, some of them clearly had their hair done, so the lack of makeup still doesn't show them as entirely "real."

Still, wonderful photos.


Well they all are naturally beautiful. And I am certain that they all work very hard to maintain that beauty.
But some of them are wearing make-up and I strongly suspect a little photo shopping around the parenthesis area because most of them did smoke to remain thin at the peak of their careers.


Wow, lots of controversey on this one.

1. I'm not insulted, I'm intrigued. I could give a rat's ass about how supermodels stay beautiful - I'm a 5'1" suburban mother of 2 smalls with an extra 10-15 lbs I'm not fond of (but even less motivated to do anything about). Their "tips" have no translation into my reality where I'm thrilled if I get a shower in the morning. Yogurt? Maybe. Yoga? ((snort)) Yeah, right.

Having said that...
2. I appreciate the photos for thier own sake. Especially the one of Kristen, who btw I do not find attractive but I'm always drawn to her work - I'm pretty sure that spells SUPERMODEL. The photos are lovely and give me a few minutes to appreciate "natural" beauty before I have to pay attention again to my daily grind.

3. Obesity/overeating is just the opposite side of the spectrum for eating disorders; people who are obsese have the same self image/self esteem issues as those who starve themselves, but they've gone the other way.

Supermodels as societal croquis are merely the face of larger issues where surface is more important than substance. Eating disorders are only one branch of that twisted tumbleweed.

4. One of the things I appreciate most about this blog is that when TLo shows a dress "in the wild" they make a concerted effort to contrast it to the runway look. I find that aspect endlessly fascinating - thank you, TLO!

Bonnie


Yeeeeah...if you need spreads like this to show you "Hey, maybe supermodels aren't perfect and they wear makeup and have their photos airbrushed!!!" then you truly are not living in 2009. Jesus.


"Tlo said: But, we're supposed to think they're "brave" for doing this"



This is like when they try to claim a gorgeous actress is brave for doing a roll where they are made down, playing an unattractive character. (Didn't Nicole Kidman win an Oscar for wearing a rubber nose?)

What might approach brave would be if the producers hired character actresses to play those parts (the ones who are better actors but can't ever get leads because of their looks).

--GothamTomato


I distinctly recall reading a brief interview of Christy Turlington a number of years ago in which she was asked what her beauty secret was and she replied, "Good genes." I almost dropped the magazine.

Also, I remember Cindy Crawford once giving credit in public to "my cosmetic surgeon" when praised on the luminous quality of her skin. These (for the most part truly lovely) women may not be wearing (much) makeup, but there's a lot of unseen maintenance here.

Not, of course, that there's anything wrong with that.


Of course it's a stunt, and the beauty tips are hilariously stupid.

But there's value in here: these women are actually more beautiful like this than I've ever seen them in magazines or on TV. That, to me, does reveal something relevant about what the beauty industry is selling, sorry to say.


Enhh. The world goes on, no matter what.

I don't see all the fuss over this, pro or con.


GT said: "What might approach brave would be if the producers hired character actresses to play those parts (the ones who are better actors but can't ever get leads because of their looks)."

This former character actress thanks you.

We always liked to snigger in the dressing rooms any time one of the 'pretty' girls didn't like her costume or wig. And it's no wonder that costumers and wig masters prefer to work with us over those who are so dependent on their beauty. I've also heard it said that we tend to be more sane.


i'm not dorothy gale

I flipped through Bazaar the other evening after a shower, wet hair dripping on the pages, and thought it was pretty cool initially. Like you, though, I now see it as big of a "stunt" as the "beauty at any age" issues of just about any women's magazine where they tout 40-ups for their achievements. And just about all these women have had "work" and/or are photoshopped. Even a "More" enlightened magazine for gals of a certain age pulls this and it pisses me off.

But really....would magazines (which are now offering such low rates that they are practically paying you to read them!) have the following they (still) have with "real" looking people inside?


They're obviously wearing makeup. Try first thing in the morning kind of shot. I remember Naomi saying that a reporter asked her if she looked like that in the morning. She thought it was a stupid question because obviously she doesn't.


Haven't had time to read all the comments yet - but I see plenty of people have already recognized what I first did - Cindy Crawford is wearing plenty of make up.

I have few and almost invisible eye lashes, but it is eye liner that I *MUST* have on, since my eyes look ridiculous w/o. SO I really noticed that.


Looking over the shoot, I'm having issues with Cindy Crawford. I keep wanting to ask the photographer, "What is wrong with her?" Because she seemed to have been worked the most to achieve how she came out.

She was one of two given the black(or dark, it's hard to tell). As PR has show, dark sets hide a lot of detail. Add to that her dark hair blends right into the background. Tatjana above her at least has a lighter hair color to offset the difference.

Then too, she's kept pretty far away from the camera. Of the eight pictures, 3 are headshots, 3 are portraits, and 2 are halfbody. She has one of the halfbody, leaning away from the focus point.

Finally, black and white? Yeah, I get that they're all glamour shots to still make the models look their best, but you take everything you're trying to bring to the article by taking color away. Skin tones, natural blemishes, everything personal about the face is gone. You're left with skin shine, bone structure and very worked lighting and poses.


Ok have read most of the comment..
Anon 2:07
Why shouldn't these women be proud to be naturally beautiful


Proud because of good genes? I don't think PROUD is the word I would use. Pride should be for actions and character.

I guess I should be embarassed that I exercise vigourously for 8 to 12 hours a week, eat a healthy diet,
have GAINED 3 lbs eating 800 calories/day for 3 wks (under doctors suprvision), and 8 lbs when eating 1000 calories for 8 wks...
Because right... Genes have NOTHING to do with anything.

I have known many very skinny people that have trouble gaining no matter what they eat.
And I know plenty of heavy people that cannot lose no matter how much they diet or exercise.

Anon 3:11 - Obese and overeating do NOT always go hand in hand - and while that may be the case for some, I find it hurtful and frustrating that the assumption is that fat people are all fat because of some kind of character flaw, laziness, or bad actions of their own. (I am not attacking, just saying.)

And agree with most about the BRAVE comments. Havig Gweneth or Courtney Cox or any of the rest of them (Eddie Murphy) in phony overstuffed, OTT fat suits - just degrading.


Ah yes, yogurt and yoga. As if that's all it took.

Good onya for calling this one a stunt. It is.


Finally Bravo INF for your
I feel like I harp on the same issue, but here it goes again. A similar thing goes here as
with other situation of privilege. People who are 'good' looking do not see it as a privilege that they are born in a society that values their cheek bones and body proportions. They believe their fame is all attributed to their work, that's why they name yoga and other activities instead of their cheek bones and height - both of which are not something they've earned. People have this complex that their money, fame, status are all earned based on their work, what they don't realize is that much of it has to do with what is given to them at birth and societal attributions.


So true.
And similarly, so much more credit should be given to people who achieve based on hard work and effort and follow through.

Overall some wonderful comments on this post by TLo and the other posters.


Real women appeal to me much, much more than what is sold on glossy pages, normally. Always like to see famous people without the trowelled on makeup, just out of curiosity. None of these girls looked bad, nor especially good, just normal and well shaped. I saw lots of "blemishes". They all took the rawness off with basic makeup, as everyone has said here, which men do more and more these days in every day life. I love makeup and wear it well, but never wear it at home. I don't need to be BEEYUTIFUL while gardening and sweating my head off.

The beauty industry would trick its own mother out of burial insurance if they could, we all agree. Ruthless and absolutely not into telling it straight.

I have read some good "model" tips that I follow to this day: a tall glass of water with lemon it it to start the day is one. Most anything regarding wholeistic facial care is another. That which sells clothes or beauty products is all just stuff and subject to disbelief when a model or famous girl opines about it. We buy most of all that stuff to make ourselves feel better, not because it makes an earth shattering amount of difference.

We are in absolutely no danger of over 30 women coming out as gorgeous with no makeup on and hair limp.


Why are they all wearing such dowdy clothes? I'm sure they are really expensive designer wife-beaters, "it's cashmere, darling", etc. but they are still wife beaters. Ick.


Saucer of milk please.


I would like to see pictures in color, not black and white, it's a lot easier to play with the images in B&W.


The tips are a joke. They actually made me LOL.


I don't see where any of them said "just eat yogurt or use good moisturizer and you too will look like me with no make-up." It's just a health or beauty tip, an example of what they do. I mean, if someone asks them "give us a beauty/health tip," are they supposed to say "be born like me?" It's just a tip. Dang. I can just imagine if one of them said "oh, I work out 3 hours a day and have 7 personal trainers," then folks would be pissed off because "who has time for that?" or whatever. If you open a magazine like this, you're going to see super beautiful people. No surprise.


What I find baffling about our society is how ppl like to equate talent with being a great human being. Why should athletes be role models? If you're good at what you do and ppl are happy to give you lots of money for showing them what you do well, that is totally fine, but why do we have to pretend that their success implies any virtue other than a good work ethic (maybe)? It would be nice if you exhibited "sportsmanship" and are generally a nice person, but what does that have to do with anything? As for models, they get paid the big bucks by, I assume, designers and companies who are under the impression that they help sell their products. Again, this is totally fine, but why are ppl interested in them beyond that? If you use your money ahd influence to do charity work, that is something else, but otherwise, who cares? Oh right, ppl who watch the Housewives shows, basically. Just because models are supposed to be gorgeous and have, supposedly, good taste (but how many models wind up on GFY?) doesn't mean the voyeuristic tendency ppl have towards them is any different.

Another baffling thing (not unrelated, I guess) is how ppl like to equate talent with beauty. I'm sorry, I don't find Uma Thurman or Rene Zellweger attractive, at all, but ppl claim they are, so it makes me suspect ppl cannot conceive of unattractive individuals having talent. And if you are talented and unattractive, by god they'll try to make you attractive (witness Susan Boyle?) The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, or whatever.

(You can dispute the (un)attractiveness of X with me all you want, but you realize my premise is that you're deluded, so I think it would be kind of a waste of time, haha. And obviously "beauty" can be subjective, but the media/Hollywood/beauty industry trying to push on me what they consider attractive gets big eyerolls. I mean, consider this spread--first of all, I don't consider most of these women particularly attractive, and secondly, comments say they're all wearing makeup anyway, and being shot in b&w, with good lighting, etc, so obviously the ppl shooting them have no real confidence in their attractiveness either.)


Yes kali, we're deluded while you're the one going on and on about how your opinions on who is attractive and who isn't are some sort of fact. While the tendency you mention is there, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody who actually equates them when asked point-blank. Then again, I'm deluded and you're God, so...


TAtiana and Kristen are no where near as lovely as many women I know, but they are supermodels. It is more, I guess, than beauty. You have to have the height, the weight and the camera has to love you. Can't fake that.


Saffron said...
THANK YOU for calling bullsh!t on these models being 'brave'. I haaaate it when celebs or models are called 'brave' for doing something different.

I shall now rant:
No, people. Bravery is running into a burning building; bravery is what our soldiers exemplify; bravery is a first responder running towards trouble when I am going to run away cause I am a wuss. Bravery is NOT some chick posing without makeup.

Ranting complete. Ah...feeling good.

8/12/09 12:44 PM


Thank you, Saffron. As a woman whose husband is a disabled NYC firefighter from 9/11, I really appreciate your distinction between true courage and bravery, and this nonsense.


I said beauty was subjective, and obviously if my opinion is off the norm, for whatever reason, it'll grate more when the norm keeps... doing what it does, which is to sell itself as fact. :p And obviously I don't mean you're deluded, but when I haven't been sold on the notion that someone is attractive, and you *have*, it is functionally equivalent.

(Of course I grew up in this society too, but I guess at some point the cultural programming went off... but I think my aesthetics are actually much more conventional and stringent.)


I can't see the type that clearly (old eyes!) -- does the Bazaar story actually refer to them as "brave?"


Of COURSE they're not brave-- we like them because they're nice to look at.
Of course I agree with TLo that the magazine is still trying to sell something, and this should in no way be confused with reality, but... I'm going to have to disagree with the posters who want to see the models in color photos with Walmart style lighting. It's like a magic trick-- I know it isn't real, but at the same time I don't really want to know the gory details of how it's done, because the little kid in me wants to play along.
Since the theme of this thread seems to be "calling a spade a spade," my interpretation would be: these are pretty pictures, done in a slightly different style than usual. I like them for the same reason I like the other pretty pictures in these magazines, because they're nice to look at...not because I think it's real.


kali = shatangi


The funny thing is that if you look at the pictures they're so afraid to smile and show more wrinkles LOL


Yeah, this is basically just a big "Look at this - no make-up and they're STILL hotter and thinner than you!" I don't know what's more exasperating - that they continuously try to normalize people who sold their normalcy long ago, or that consumers still buy into it.

Genetically gifted models telling women perfection is only a bowl of non-fat yogurt and a few sun salutations away is ridiculous; of course this works for them, not to mention it's a very current and trendy way of staying fit. Get real. At this moment in time I have a very high metabolism and I don't take it for granted, so if somebody asks me how I stay thin I tell them the truth. It's fine to respect or admire celebrities but unless you are physically and physiologically similar, following in their footsteps is probably a bad idea. And hell, if you are that similar, you probably don't have to.


Excuse my cynicism, but it just seems to me that they've replaced "makeup will make you beautiful" with "ludicrous skin-care regimens will make you beautiful."

Not to mention the point is negated without the younger models habitually shown.

If they want me to take them seriously, do a 'standard vs unadulterated' spread.

The pictures are beautiful, of course.


Cindy Crawford has had an eye lift, don't you think?


I'm 35 and have recently acquired large, puffy, under eye bags. There's a surgical technique available to remove them. I've been considering it but it costs $4,000 and I'm not sure I want to go down the path of plastic surgery.

I've been looking around at other people's under eye bags for about a year now. Whenever I see someone rich, famous, and successful who has obviously could have had them removed and opted NOT to, I kind of respect them. Tatian, Amber, and Kristen are all sporting major under eye bag and yet they don't seem to care.

I'm embarrassed to have these insecurities this late in life and feel comforted by the no-make-up photos of models, but, I'm kind of not with Tom an L on this one. I am an average women and I do identify with other women going through the aging process.


Some of them look pretty good, but I would like to suggest that Tatiana Patiz, Amber Valetta, Shalom Harlow, and Kristen McMenamy need to get more sleep or drink more water or something. I could fit my entire wardrobe into the bags under their eyes!


Yeah, except for Kristen, I don't actually think any of them aren't wearing makeup and aren't retouched. That's a load of crapola.


Speaking as a definitely not perfect female beauty specimen, I actually really liked this spread. I know it's gimmicky, but I've gotten to the point where I don't even pretend to think that the women in magazines actually look like that, or feel threatened by them. To me, models in magazine photos are just really lovely, idealized artworks. Painted, posed, painted again, still pretty. It's art, not photojournalism! It never even crosses my mind that they "really" look like that!

I liked this spread because I felt like it was the first time I actually saw a photograph of these women. It's a little like meeting someone the subject of a painting. I really didn't feel insulted by it, but maybe that's just me.


Holy shit! When I saw Tatiana, I thought to myself, "I didn't know Veronica Cartwright was in modeling!"
Sorry, Taz.





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