Supermodels are hailed as the epitome of beauty in Western society. Their statuesque figures and flowing hair pale in comparison to their flawless faces, which are consistently primed and primped to perfection. Whether these stunners are strutting down a runway or giggling at a fancy party, all eyes are on them. Women gaze at their faces staring back from the covers of magazines and hope to attain that same beauty with the right clothes, the right makeup and the right hairstyles.
Yet, underneath it all, Victoria's Secret Angels, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models and all other catwalk queens are just flesh-and-blood women, not otherworldly beings (albeit extremely beautiful). Nothing displayed that better than the Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 casting shots that were posted in LOVE magazine. Yes, the photos are from 2010. Yes, these photos are still making the social media rounds even two years later.
The casting shots showed supermodels like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Bar Refaeli, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and more without any makeup on.
Last month, Complex magazine took these no-makeup casting shots as well as other black-and-whites and candids to compile a slideshow. This slideshow was made up of the no-makeup photos adjacent to photos of the models glammed-up for a job or red carpet event.
From magazines to the runway, supermodels appear effortlessly flawless. That's why their stripped down off-duty looks are often more jarring than smoky-eye and bronzer could ever be, wrote Tara Aquino. We're so used to seeing these women look a million times more attractive than the average human that it feels unnatural when they resemble someone regular. For the record, we think these supermodels are beautiful no matter what, but these 30 Shocking Photos of Supermodels Without Makeup definitely caught us a little off-guard.
The No Makeup Photo Still Popular Two Years Later
In 2010, the Louis Vuitton casting photos became a sensation on Reddit. The photo posted on Reddit juxtaposed the model without makeup with an editorial shot. Comments on Reddit included: Seriously, though-how many of them have enormous foreheads and huge eyes? A lot of them are not attractive sans makeup. Their faces look smooshed; they're too damn skinny. Put down the coke straw and eat a cheeseburger, ladies! and the more poetic coke, coke, coke ,coke, heroine, coke, heroine, heeeey that one is smiling..., coke, heroine, heroine, coke, ...
Jezebel writer Jenna Sauers responded to these harsh comments with a sharp rebuttal of her own: Let them criticize. That's kind of the point. Modeling is just one of the many areas of the fashion industry that does not give much consideration to men and their alleged needs. It is not created or intended to serve men's tastes.
Although the modeling industry obviously suffers from some significant blind spots - it is generally ageist, size-ist, and racist, for starters - with those handicaps acknowledged, I have always felt that fashion still represents a fairly extraordinary diversity of female beauty. What these men are noticing is merely fashion's long-established tendency to find and glorify the most unusual good looks, rather than the interchangeably pretty, thin-but-curvy, pneumatic appearances that are validated by beer ads and Maxim throughout the West, wrote Sauers.
So, why is this photo still circulating two years later?
Have You Seen Her Without Makeup?
Photos of celebrities without makeup have become a sort of fascination. When an actress, songstress or model is caught at the grocery store in sweatpants and a ponytail, her photo gets slapped on the cover of the every tabloid and posted on every blog.
Makeup is something many women, famous or not, use to look and feel their very best. Kim Kardashian is known for her ultra-glamorous style. It is a rarity for her to be photographed or filmed without a full face of makeup on. Even in scenes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians where Kim was in bed, she still was primped to the nth degree.
Recently, Kardashian told People magazine that she hardly ever even takes off her makeup. I feel most beautiful when I'm fully in hair and makeup in the middle of a photo shoot, Kardashian told People. I'm not going to lie and say that I spend a lot of time without makeup on. I really don't. I feel more myself, and I feel prettier when I have makeup on.
When Snooki from MTV's Jersey Shore posted a photo of herself with a fresh, makeup-free face, fans went wild. The pint-sized reality star - known for wearing layers of bronzer, false eyelashes and gobs of lip gloss - photographed herself without any makeup on and tweeted it to fans. The 24-year-old posted, No make up day :) and IDC :) along with a photo of her fresh face. Fans followed-up with a slew of praise and adoration, telling Snooki how great she looked.
The Flipside of Celebrity Worship
The mystique that comes with celebrity surely has something to do with it. Celebrity worship is common in Western culture as actors, musicians and models are made gods. Over-saturation of coverage makes them a part of daily life.
In our society, celebrities act like a drug, James Houran, a psychologist at the consulting firm HVS Executive Search who helped create the first questionnaire to measure celebrity worship, told LiveScience.They're around us everywhere. They're an easy fix.
According to others, the reason for celebrity obsession lies in biology. There's a few different reasons for that, Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan, told LiveScience. One is just learning what high-status individuals do so you might more effectively become one, and two, it's basically political. Knowing what is going on with high-status individuals, you'd be better able to navigate the social scene.
It is this mystique coupled with the celebrity-equals-deity mentality that make such personages and imagery of them so powerful.
The obsession can turn dangerous when young girls compare themselves to the made-up and airbrushed images seen in advertisements and in magazines. Findings suggest that in female adolescents, there is an interaction between Intense-personal celebrity worship and body image between the ages of 14 and 16 years, and some tentative evidence has been found to suggest that this relationship disappears at the onset of adulthood, 17 to 20 years, according to a 2005 study by L. Maltby.
Israel enacted a law on Monday that bans too-skinny models from working unless they meet a specific body mass index (BMI). The skinny model ban also prohibits the use of models who look underweight in advertisements, reported Yahoo! News. Developers of advertisements in Israel must disclose whether or not they used Photoshop or digital alterations to make the model look thinner.
In Israel, approximately two percent of girls between the ages of 14 and 18 have severe eating disorders, according to a study by anthropologist Sigal Gooldin. We want to break the illusion that the model we see is real, Liad Gil-Har, assistant to law sponsor Dr. Rachel Adato, told the New York Daily News.
So, a photo of a supermodel or a celebrity without makeup becomes a sort-of counteroffensive to this unattainable notion of flawlessness, since those who are supposed to embody the highest standard of perfection do not even meet it themselves.