"I was Photoshopped by a magazine in a way you'd never expect."

Being asked to feature in a ‘half their size’ issue of a weekly magazine isn’t something that happens, you know, ever. But while Shelly Horton was secretly hoping for some help from the Photoshop fairy, she never imagined this…

“Photoshop the shit out of me!”

Those were the exact words I said to Nicky Briger, my friend and editor of Who magazine.

“Sorry Darl, we don’t do that at Who,” she replied.

Over the past year-and-a-half I have lost 18 kilos (cue applause and the instant question ‘What’s your secret?’  Umm eat less, move more, stay consistent.  Dull but it works.)  Anyway I was posing for Who‘s annual “Half Their Size” edition.

celebrities who are missing fingers
Sucking it in with Alex Perry. Source: Who Magazine, January 12, 2015

Alex Perry made me a dress and I was so freaking excited to show off my new body.

But I also felt terrified about people cocking a disappointed eyebrow because, even with the weight-loss, you’d never describe me as skinny.

A woman’s face is photoshopped in 18 different countries.

I excitedly opened the magazine and was secretly disappointed that they didn’t Photoshop me to look thinner – at all.  But I was happy that my 18 months of hard work had paid off and I was looking curvy but strong.

Slim lined. Sourced Who Magazine January 12, 2015

But on a second look, I saw they had Photoshopped something IN.

You see, I lost the tip of my middle finger on my left hand in a childhood accident. But in the magazine, it had magically reappeared.

I wasn’t upset.  In fact I laughed out loud.

Here’s a close up of my fake fingers.

I rang Nicky, and she was shocked and strongly denied Photoshopping, “We just don’t do it.  I don’t know what’s happened but we did not Photoshop you.”

Woman uses photoshop holiday to fake five-week holiday.


She did some digging and it turns out it was a miscommunication.  The photographer said he’d fixed the fingers and the picture editor thought he meant the main shot where my fingers are curled over. No one noticed it in the smaller pic because really it’s not something you’d look for. It’s a lesson in how these things happen.

“If I’d realised, I would have made him change it back,” said Nicky.  “And darl, I have known you for years and I’ve never noticed you don’t have half your finger!”

I had a giggle. Hardly anyone notices it.

But I am in some very good company to be “missing a bit”, as this gallery shows: (Post continues after gallery):

I don’t have a problem with my “curly finger”, as my family calls it. It’s my normal.

But the accident is my first memory.

I was two-and-a-half years old and I pulled a chair up to the washing machine, opened the lid and started to play with the bubbles.  You can’t do that any more on most top-loaders – well, that’s because of kids like me.  What the doctors think happened was I wrapped my finger around a pyjama cord and at that exact moment the spin-cycle started, ripping the top of my finger off.

One of these kids is doing its own thing.

I was lucky I didn’t lose an arm or even get pulled in and drowned.  When my nephews turned two I felt ill thinking about how little they were and how my poor parents must have felt.


I don’t remember the pain.  I don’t remember the blood… which is strange because apparently it looked like a CSI crime scene.

Growing up I was a bit self-conscious.  When I was about 10, I was complaining to my grandfather about how gross my finger was, and he put me in my place by talking about his friends from the war who were missing entire limbs.  Thanks, Papa.

When I was about 16 I asked Mum and Dad for a prosthetic.  Dad gently said, “But imagine if you are on a date with the man of your dreams and he proposes, reaches across to put a ring on your finger, knocks the prosthetic off and it falls in the soup.  He’ll think you’re a leper.” Thanks, Dad.

Yes, my family does Tough Love really well.

I was digitally altered.


But I’ve come to love my curly finger.  Hardly anyone notices because I just don’t care. I don’t shove my hand in my pocket or hold my arm behind my back for photos.  In fact I think I gesture and talk with my hands more than most people.

If someone asks what happened I look at them innocently and say, “I’m a heavy masturbator.  I just wore it down.”  Makes me laugh every time.

From now on I won’t ask to be Photoshopped, I don’t want my digits digitally enhanced,  I’ll give Photoshopping the finger.

Do you have a perceived imperfection that you’re secretly proud of?