Yet another major publication has insisted on Photoshop-fucking with Kerry Washington’s perfect human visage, but luckily, her perfect soul remains intact.
This week’s culprit is AdWeek, who somehow decided that rendering the actress almost completely unrecognizable—and a few skin shades lighter—for the cover of their April 4 issue was a good idea. (“The ‘bleached mid-Animorph’ look is so in this season,” I imagine someone said in the board room.)
Washington posted her response to the cover on her Instagram account with the accompanying photo, in which she described her reaction to seeing it for the first time.
“It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror,” Washington wrote. “It’s an unfortunate feeling.”
While the actress adamantly encouraged her followers to buy copies of the magazine if they wanted to, she also noted that her interview featured in the issue left out her commentary on “the importance of strong professional support and my awesome professional team.”
She then stated she intended to “discuss those things with anyone who is interested, in an alternate forum” in the near future.
Here is Washington’s statement in full:
“So...You know me. I’m not one to be quiet about a magazine cover. I always celebrate it when a respected publication invites me to grace their pages. It’s an honor. And a privilege. And ADWEEK is no exception.
I love ADWEEK. It’s a publication I appreciate. And learn from. I’ve long followed them on Twitter. And when they invited me to do a cover, I was excited and thrilled. And the truth is, I’m still excited. I’m proud of the article. And I like some of the inside images a great deal. But, I have to be honest...I was taken aback by the cover.
Look, I’m no stranger to Photoshopping. It happens a lot. In a way, we have become a society of picture adjusters - who doesn’t love a filter?!? And I don’t always take these adjustments to task but I have had the opportunity to address the impact of my altered image in the past and I think it’s a valuable conversation.
Yesterday, however, I just felt weary. It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It’s an unfortunate feeling.
That being said. You all have been very kind and supportive. Also, as I’ve said, I’m very proud of the article.
m. But until then...Grab this week’s ADWEEK. Read it. I hope you enjoy it. And thank you for being patient with me while I figured out how to post this in a way that felt both celebratory and honest.There are a few things we discussed in the interview that were left out. Things that are important to me (like: the importance of strong professional support and my awesome professional team) and I’ve been thinking about how to discuss those things with anyone who is interested, in an alternate forum. But until then...Grab this week’s ADWEEK. Read it. I hope you enjoy it. And thank you for being patient with me while I figured out how to post this in a way that felt both celebratory and honest.
Washington’s altered AdWeek cover photo is the latest in a long line of similar incidents. Back in March 2015, an InStyle cover featuring the actress with noticeably lighter skin generated a national discussion surrounding the representation of POC women in mainstream media and Western (read: white) beauty standards.
Update: In a statement, AdWeek’s editorial director James Cooper wrote:
Kerry Washington is a class act. We are honored to have her grace our pages. To clarify, we made minimal adjustments, solely for the cover’s design needs. We meant no disrespect, quite the opposite. We are glad she is enthusiastic about the piece and appreciate her honest comments.
He then wrote on Twitter that they “added volume” to her hair to make it more dramatic.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Getty.