Have you ever looked at Victoria’s Secret campaigns and wondered, ‘how is that kind of bod even possible’? Yep, guilty. Well, we’ve got some good news for you: it’s not possible. In fact, while the VS models are famously ~gorj~, and we’ve come to expect some photoshopping (coz that’s the age we live in), it turns out there’s a helluva lot more going on in the editing department than we even imagined. Um, phew.
So how do we know? Well, someone who used to edit the VS swimsuit campaigns for a living has finally spilled the beans to Refinery 29, saying she now sets boundaries on what she will and won’t do ‘cause she says, “I know what I’m doing is wrong.”
1. Before shooting, the models’ swimsuits have a crap load of pads and inserts sewn into the inside to give the appearance of bigger curves.
"If you hold up the bathing suit in your own hand, it's so heavy because they have all this sh*t sewed into it," she said.
2. The models wear push-up bras underneath the swimsuits for ultimate #CleavageGoals.
It also resolves the question of how on Earth they managed the boobs-together sitch in even strapless styles. "We retouch out the bra ... a lot of [staffers] would complain because they even did it with strapless stuff. When you're wearing a strapless bikini, in no way, shape, or form [can] you have cleavage. It’s physically impossible with the way gravity works.”
3. Nips are then taken out of the equation and the boobs are edited in every way possible.
The photoshopper says she "was often asked to make breasts rounder, higher, perfectly symmetrical, and of course, larger… they all have [size] As.”
4. They make models curvier, rather than smaller, in Photoshop.
Yup, the models are so small the editors often need to soften bony areas which begs the question; why don’t they just hire curvier models? Well, the photoshopper says, “because they don’t sell.” She goes on to say that VS would get more diverse body types in to shoot all the time, but consumers didn’t respond well, so they’d revert back to the same ‘sporty’ type. Lesson: your wallet speaks louder than words on this stuff.
5. The Photoshop is so good, models don’t even care about turning up on shoot day with hairy underarms and bikini lines 'cause they know it’s just going to be edited out anyway.
Aside from us all kind of wishing Instagram had the same feature, it does go some way to explaining why their underarms always looked kinda suss (y’know, with the absence of that slight grey shadow that’s always there no matter what you do).
"They come to these photo shoots and, like, they have their arms up in the classic beach pose and they have, like, hairy armpits,” she adds. “They all have stubbly pubes — all the normal stuff [non-models have]." Lol - she actually said 'stubbly pubes' in an interview.
6. 'Body swapping' is a legit thing and it happens in these shoots.
Most of the time it happens to avoid ‘awkward gestures’, she says. “A lot of the time, retouching isn't about trying to make a body look ideal, but also to avoid criticism of the image.”
Sooooo the retoucher basically confirmed what we've known all along: Photoshop is an evil genius and we all need to stop comparing ourselves to these ridic standards coz they're actually IMPOSSIBLE.