While we’re all aware that retouching has taken place on basically every advertisement our eyes choose to focus on, we’re rarely given an insight into exactly what trickery is happening.
A former retoucher who’s worked on a number of big brands, including Victoria’s Secret, has spoken anonymously to Refinery 29 to share what really happens on a typical industry bikini shoot, and how what you’re seeing is absolutely not reality.
1.The ‘editing’ begins way before the pictures are taken.
According to “Sarah”, the alteration of how the model looks starts before a camera is even picked up.
“The first thing they do is they put in [hair] extensions. I don’t think I ever was on a shoot with a model that had real hair,” she told Refinery 29.
‘Chicken fillets’ and other shaping pads that alter how the model’s body and breasts look are also used.
“If you hold up the bathing suit in your own hand, it’s so heavy because they have all this shit sewed into it.”
2. The cleavage is fake.
Ever asked yourself how the model has cleavage in that strapless bikini top, while you’re struggling just to get it to stay on?
No, it’s not magical anti-gravity spray, but rather a good ol’ fashioned wonderbra – and a lot of brands do it.
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“They put a push-up bra under the bathing suit. And we retouch out the bra… a lot of [staffers] would complain because they even did it with strapless stuff,” she said.
“When you’re wearing a strapless bikini, in no way, shape, or form [can] you have cleavage. It’s physically impossible with the way gravity works.”
3. Body hair is edited out.
“They [models] come to these photo shoots and, like, they have their arms up in the classic beach pose, and they have hairy armpits. They all have stubbly pubes — all the normal stuff [non-models have],” Sarah told Refinery29.