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Models Without Makeup: Just Like Us?

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Walk past any newsstand at your local bookstore or supermarket and you’re bound to see a headline screaming for you to look at the “Stars Without Makeup” photographed inside.

Sometimes, you’ll pick it up despite yourself, and even though you know that celebrities and models are airbrushed into oblivion with each movie poster or magazine spread, you can’t help but gasp in astonishment at the poorly-lit, unflattering photos of your favorite stars. It’s human nature – or, more accurately, a human habit we’ve developed after centuries of obsessing over our looks.

A recent photo posted on Jezebel features Victoria’s Secret models stripped of Photoshop, professional lighting, and (most of) their makeup. We’re left with photos of… well, beautiful women, but the kind of beautiful you see at the office or the laundromat. It is a sobering image, reminding us that even the women we aspire to be and compare ourselves to don’t look like the pictures we see.

Oddly enough, however, paparazzi and tabloid magazines usually use these photos as fodder for scandalous, critical articles that persecute stars for not living up to our unrealistic standards of beauty. Which begs the question: Are photos of stars without makeup helpful or hurtful?