Victoria's Secret model: "This is why we NEED to be air-brushed"

Erin Heatherington


When Victoria’s Secret models are being air-brushed to look ‘better’, surely it’s a sign that the world has lost the plot.

These woman are considered among the most beautiful in the world and are paid to model underwear. Their whole job is to look good. And yet even they’re not good enough.

Erin Heatherington, Victoria’s Secret Angel (the name given to the elite crack team of lingerie models employed by the company which include Mirand Kerr) and girlfriend of Leonardo di Caprio had this to say about the rampant use of photoshop by Victoria’s Secret exposed recently online: “’We’re not selling reality; we’re selling a story. It’s all about creating this fantasy. Retouching is an essential part of our job.”

She also reckons body image has nothing to do with fashion imagery.  “I think that’s something that children should be taught by their parents, it should be taught in schools. Healthy body image is not something that you’re going to learn from fashion magazines.”

More from the Daily Mail:

Miss Heatherton, who is currently dating Leonardo DiCaprio, branded all criticism over airbrushing as a ‘waste of time’, adding: ‘No one is perfect – we all know that… Photoshop makes things look beautiful.’

However, she agreed that slimming down models to inhuman proportions is ‘not a fair message’.

Miss Heatherton said that it is up to the public to know the difference between what is Photoshopped and what is not.


Except that 99% of us don’t realise the images we see have been airbrushed because there is no fine print that declares it. And – call us crazy – we assume that it’s enough that they’re the world’s most beautiful women, whose 24/7 job is to look good and who have a team of dozens of people at every photo shoot whose job it is to make The Angels look as perfect as humanly possible.


But no. Not enough. Not PERFECT enough. Bring in the Photoshop.

Surely, if women like Miranda Kerr and 5’11” Erin Heatherington aren’t considered slim or flawless enough to escape the airbrush, there’s something very very wrong with this picture.

In August this year, Victoria’s Secret accidentally published a set of unretouched images from a photo shoot. Jezebel has published all the images, before and after Victoria’s Secret airbrushing job. While most of the differences are not overwhelmingly shocking, it’s interesting to see what has been Photoshopped in the pictures. This from Jezebel:

Images have always been retouched in the darkroom, sure, but the cost and time-intensiveness of darkroom retouching often meant that magazines and brands simply didn’t have the time to “fix” everything. When digital retouching became the norm in the late 90s/early 2000s, our bodily ideal for women began to change, too. A lot of the things that got Photoshopped out of these Victoria’s Secret images — folds of skin visible at Kroes’ side when she thrusts out a hip, expression lines, traces of body hair, the texture of her skin — were visible in ad campaigns for global brands and on fashion magazine covers even as recently as the 1990s. We did not always think of the place where the pectoral muscle meets the armpit as something “ugly” in need of “fixing.” We did not always think that it looked “bad” for a woman to squint slightly in the sun.

Take a look at some of the fascinating images – Jezebel have added arrows to point out where skin has been smoothed or altered. You can see the rest of Jezebel’s Victoria’s Secret images here. Also in the gallery are images of other celebrities before and after Photoshop.

That said, Victoria’s Secret have also had their fair share of Photoshop fails. Flick through our gallery of them below: