In a post on Instagram Wednesday, Troian Bellesario of Pretty Little Liars commented on recent concerns that a spread of the cast in the June issue of GQ was overly photoshopped.
The photophotoshootshoot (which is not yet on GQ's website though the PLL women have been posting photos of it on their Instagrams) shows Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario and Lucy Hale done up for a day by the (indoor) pool. It's very GQ in style and stylistically looks a lot like Terry Richardson's controversial shoot for the magazine with the young women of Glee a few years back. This one was photographed by Ellen von Unwerth. The male model in the photos is Chad White.
After the photos leaked online, Hayley Hoover of The Gloss wrote:
While I understand that GQ's target demographic is probably, you know, not high school girls, it still makes me sad to see some of the smartest female characters on TV getting reduced to shiny, poreless Barbies. I'm not trying to say that talented, intelligent women can't also want to look sexy in a magazine (and if someone offered to Photoshop me into a swimsuit model, I probably wouldn't complain), but it's so shitty that the magazine version of "hot" always means "barely human." They're all gorgeous. They're all sexy. Why do they have to be slimmed down, slicked up, open-mouthed, and fatless?
Hoover and fans of the actresses were particularly concerned about the photos given the outspokenness of the cast in the past about overly photoshopped promotional images of themselves and eating disorders. Not helping the situation is the fact that though the women on the show are not teens, PLL is an ABC Family show targeted to a young, impressionable audience (though that's definitely not GQ's audience).
Bellesario decided to counter the new narrative about the shoot by posting "some behind the scenes [shots] of my body the way it is and was on the day." In a long caption on the photo, she both acknowledged that the photos aren't what she truly looks like while noting that it's okay "As long as we acknowledge how it was achieved so we know it's not real":
So by now you have seen many a shot from #GQand many people have said that we were photoshopped... OF COURSE WE WERE! that's a very specific type of photo shoot. And looking very blown out and perfected was obviously what they were looking for. Great. Cool. As long as we acknowledge how it was achieved so we know it's not real. Here's some behind the scenes of my body the way it is and was on the day. I'm not mad at how these pictures turned out, the girls and I had an absolute blast. More fun than we've had on a photoshoot in a while, and I think you can see that in our eyes and smiles. But it's the same everywhere. It's the same way on the posters of our show and even in women's magazines. This industry seems to invest more in perfection than in flaw. But flaw and individuality, to me, are what make a human being interesting, they make our stories worth telling. (Unfortunately the flaws don't usually sell products or magazines) I'm proud of my body and the way it looks because @themarkwildman kicks my butt in aerial. But my hips and thighs are a part of me (even though they magically weren't in some shots!) I get those things from my momma. And I'm happy To shake what my momma gave me.
Bellesario then posted another photo from the shoot and wrote:
Images via Ashley Benson and Troian Bellesario/Instagram and GQ