Huda Kattan, the founder and CEO of the popular Huda Beauty cosmetic line, decided it was time to be super transparent about her use of photoshop. Earlier this week, Kattan uploaded a video of the editing process to her personal Instagram account, uncovering everything from basic coloring adjustments to slimming her face, enlarging her breasts, and transferring someone else’s abs onto her own.
From her caption, bolding ours:
Here’s a not so “perfect” photo from our GloWish drop 2 campaign shoot and I wanted to show you guys what it looks like to be human. ❤️
To be completely honest guys, I do feel uncomfortable showing belly rolls, and moments where my flaws are highlighted, especially on social where things are so perfect. Its truly difficult when I choose not to edit I get called fat and if I ever choose to edit, i’m called fake. At the end of the day you have to do what makes you feel good and showing myself in all aspects is personally important to me to help shape a more honest beauty narrative 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
The replies were overwhelmingly positive, both insisting that Kattan looks beautiful the way she is and that both her before and after images are worth celebrating. That Kattan feels uncomfortable with her belly rolls and other so-called “imperfections” is, frankly, relatable. Neither the revolt against ultra photoshopped advertisements or the rise (and prompt co-opting) of body positivity or fat positivity has eliminated the tendency to ask a friend to take a photo over again so we remember to hold our stomachs in and angle our necks just so for the next go around. Think of all those damning new studies saying that Instagram destroys the body image of teen girls and worsens mental health.
The issue is not that Kattan, a mere mortal at the end of the day, has her share of insecurities and feels vulnerable like the rest of us. The issue is that Kattan is being applauded for showing her millions of followers how the sausage is made and concluding that doing “what makes you feel good”—in this case, sharing only heavily photoshopped images of herself with a body that is not her own, until this week—is worth celebrating. “At least she’s honest!” might have flown in 2011, but it’s 2021. Kattan has been a powerful and deeply influential woman for years, and for years she has reaped the benefits of these practices. Now she wants to pivot, and presumably to benefit from that, as well. Kattan says that “showing myself in all aspects is personally important to me to help shape a more honest beauty narrative”—but where was that energy before now?
The most curious part of Kattan’s caption came at the very end: “#nophotoediting.” Jezebel has contacted Kattan’s representatives for clarity and are awaiting a response, but it reads as a pledge. Kattan has so far maintained the pledge on her personal account, posting a photo of herself with the hashtags “#nophotoshop” and “#nophotoediting.”
But what happens when neglecting to steal a stock model’s abs and enlarge her breasts post-production no longer sparks joy?