MM: Most people celebrate turning 50 by going on a holiday or buying a convertible. You celebrated earlier this year by appearing on the cover of the Australian’s Women Weekly wearing nothing. What made you want to do that cover shoot?
I really had to give serious consideration, as to ‘why’ I would agree to do the shoot, but it was more than just a cover, it was the Body Issue for the January issue of the AWW which always focuses on enforcing positive body image. After suffering for most of my life with huge insecurities about my own body and finally reaching the point of acceptance, I wanted to talk about that, to share that story and celebrate the fact I’m still here with all my wobbly bits…and that’s OK.
MM: The cover was celebrated – but it there was also some loud criticism about the amount of air brushing used in the shoot. Where do you stand on the digital alternation of photos for magazines?
I just want to go on the record for the final time that the cover was minimally photo-shopped. I was adamant that my body shape, lines on my face remain the same and that I had a few blemishes and sun spots removed round my neck and chest. At the end of the day it was a cover for the top selling women’s magazine in this country…I would question that any woman wouldn’t do the same given the opportunity. If you go on my Balance website, I am pretty much warts and all, as you see me in the flesh, videos untouched, candid snapshots…its raw footage and at 50 I’m very comfortable with who I am and how I look.
I acknowledge that Mia has taken the position that no magazine/media photo should be photo-shopped but I frankly don’t agree. I think the discussion needs to be focused around ‘the degree’…to what degree do we air brush? I am totally against some retailers, high fashion magazines removing things like ribs, reshaping arms, carving off flesh and unrealistic removal of wrinkles etc. It’s got to look real.
Photo-shopping and enhancing has been around since fashion photography was invented. It used to take place in a darkroom where it now takes place on a computer screen. Look at Vogue images from the 40’s or Hollywood glamour shots from the 50’s and they’ve all had some degree of enhancement…even the days before colour photo’s, we used to hand colour to provide the perfect complexion. Play that forward and what is Instagram if it’s not photo-shopping.
I would guess that most weddings pics, family portraits, glamour photography these days have some form of air brushing. It’s just about being realistic. Over the years I have rejected many images that I felt didn’t represent me in my true form because the client had over photo-shopped them. I have earnt every wrinkle from my laughs and my tears, they’re mine, and they’re my stripes.
MM: You first appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan at the age of 16 – and you were 50 when you covered AWW. In that time, what kind of changes have you noticed in the media industry?