How Fake Models Are Really Made

This 1 minute video shows how advertisers tart up models with makeup and computer effects to look “better” than they really are. Astounding. Despicable.

It’s part of Dove’s “Campaign For Real Beauty” which aims to sell Dove skincare products to a niche audience that thinks it hates these fake models. The lotion is the same as what the “fake” model sells, it’s just in a more “conscious” package.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to watch the sexy babe pool party. Again.


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  1. JLam4911 says:

    A friend made a good point about this video. I can’t do her justice by paraphrasing it, so I’ll quote her directly:

    You know what the Dove film in the OP (and the whole ad campaign) is?

    It’s the mother of all strawmen.

    Yes, Photoshopping is used in ads, but what Dove has done is filmed a made-up process from beginning to end, featuring a fictional advert for which the model is heavily Photoshopped. It’s not a real ad, and viewers don’t actually know to what degree the Photoshopping demonstrated is representative of the average touching-up that occurs on an average shoot.

    They have built own their own giant strawman and then proceed to knock it down…to sell you their own products.

    “Look everyone! We’ve Photoshopped this model’s face to an extreme degree to make you believe that all photographs are Photoshopped to a similar degree! And then we’re telling you that it’s really bad, and that of course WE don’t do that! So buy our products!”

    A good discussion of this video can be found here:

  2. bluegus32 says:

    I diaagree. The point the commercial makes is not that every model is heavily Photoshopped. Just that every model is altered in some fashion often to the point of being altered beyond reality. This disgusting definition of “beauty” sells products. Look at what’s going on in Europe. Certain countries, like Spain, are trying to actually legislate how big the girls have to be to be a runway model. This has become a big problem in terms of how these unrealistic definitions of beauty have distorted people’s reality and caused harm to young, impressionistic girls.

    Maybe Dove is exaggerating in order to make point. Really, who cares? The message is clear and is necessary. The fact that Dove is using that message to sell a product really doesn’t bother me.

  3. Caerdroia says:

    Note that the brand responsible for both the photopshop-fu ad and this ad:

    belongs to the same parent company
    as the brand responsible for this ad:
    (Lynx being the UK equivalent of Axe.)

    also, SlimFast:

    Just wow. You’d think they’d try harder to hide it.

  4. just dave says:

    Despicable? Why so? We all know what’s possible with Photoshop (not to mention makeup), so why all the hoopla over one company using this to hawk their wares? It’s interesting to see the whole process in time-lapse, and I applaud Dove for that, but don’t get yer undies in a bundle over the magician giving away the trick.

  5. kerry says:

    A photo retouching studio did a wonderful service to the universe by posting the untouched and retouched versions of fashion and celebrity photos on their website:
    1 Click Portfolio
    2 Click Agree
    3 Then Before and After

    You will then see a pic, HOLD DOWN THE WORD “BEFORE” to see what the models really looked like.

  6. dissolution says:

    I think the benefits of this campaign far outweigh its flaws. They are also giving a lot of money to women’s causes (particularly around girls’ self esteem.)

    To me it’s not the solution, but it’s not contributing to the problem, either.

  7. homerjay says:

    Great link, Kerry. So models really ARE as ugly as the rest of us!

  8. kerry says:

    Yeah, and Billy Bob Thornton really *is* old!

  9. Falconfire says:

    Fuck Billy Bob, Renee Zelwiger is my age and looks like shes 50.

  10. AcilletaM says:

    Also check out the composite/manipulation section for more dramatic changes as well. Great site Kerry! The Tom Cruise picture creeps me out.

  11. homerjay says:

    It doesn’t take a picture to make Tom Cruise creepy anymore. I’m surprised me’s not WAY more photochopped than he was.

  12. Triteon says:

    You want creepy? Ever been in a strip club when a fire alarm goes off and the lights come up? (I haven’t, I, uh…read about that somewhere. The Financial Times or something. Yeah, that’s it!)

  13. lpranal says:

    Yeah I think this is a little bit on the extreme end of things for retouching. The fluideffect site is more on par with what I typically do to photos that need it (though I personally like preserving a photo’s integrity as much as possible.)

    And I was JUST working on a billboard that needed a model’s photo “de-aged”.

  14. denki says:

    I actually do a bit of modeling from time to time, and aside from make-up and basic photoshop things like contrast levels and maybe some layering effects, none of my modeling pics are photoshopped at all…that is, my face/body isn’t distorted. Guess I’m just more beautiful than those ugly-ass celebs, which is a comforting thought.

  15. kerry says:

    Ha, Triteon! You’re totally right. I went to a strip club to find a girl for a party once, and ran into one of the dancers in the bathroom. Hoooey, she looked like a totally different person than she did on stage. Lighting makes all the difference . . .

  16. Ishmael says:

    Thanks for the link, kerry! I suddenly feel a lot better about my weight and my shiny skin.

  17. omicronpersei8 says:

    Yeah about the strip clubs, the overhead fluorescents must have been on a timer or something because I was having a grand old buzzed up time and then those flourescents fired up for like 20 seconds and I immediately sobered up and wanted to leave.

    I mean my friend did can called me to come pick him up as I was home studying for the Peace Corps and told me that story.