Photoshop Of Horrors: Vogue Thailand Lightened Naomi Campbell’s Skin And We’re Not Having It

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Naomi Campbell is Vogue Thailand’s November cover girl, but the photo barely resembles Campbell at all. In fact, the cover features a lovely photo of a woman who couldn’t possibly be Naomi Campbell.

"The Face" - Screening - Arrivals

Considering how many changes they made to her face, it’s easier to simply believe that Vogue hired a Campbell look-a-like who wasn’t quite right for the part. Here are the steps the design team over at Vogue Thailand would have had to go through in order to change a photo of Naomi Campbell into this train wreck:

naomi campbell vogue thailand

1. Significantly lighten her skin tone
2. Change her deep brown eyes to light blue (contacts can’t do that)
3. Give her a nose job she didn’t ask for or need to have done
4. Her faced seems particularly heart-shaped
5. Wait seriously, they lightened her skin?

I will never understand why magazines do this. They book people celebrated for their looks (who could be more celebrated for her looks than a freaking supermodel?) and then tear their faces apart. Even our walking, breathing ideals of beauty can’t live up to our beauty standards.

It’s hard not to see a racial side to this—they lightened her skin and eyes for god’s sake. This shows just how insidious beauty standards can be, and even a supermodel could be prettier. She could be less black.

What a waste. Naomi Campbell is undeniably gorgeous, and Vogue Thailand made a huge mistake trying to make her into something that she’s not.

Photos: Getty Images, Vogue Thailand

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    • Hayley Hoover

      Such a disaster.

    • BS

      Seriously? You have to use racist issue to boost up interests of your article? Really, I see no difference on this cover from Beyonce’s fancy VDOs or any of those attractive colour girl’s ad pieces. It’s just a cover of a magazine – nothing to do with racism!

    • ThaiGuy

      Thai people are some of the most racist people on the planet, BUT…

      I’m not even surprised. You have to understand, in Thailand, all the movie / soap opera / pop stars are all half white. Being White-r is desirable. The reason is pretty obvious. If you have pale skin in a country like Thailand, it means you spend a lot of time OUT of the sun, indoors. Which means your job is probably professional, and earns you a LOT more money. If you’re out in the sun every day, doing MENIAL labor, then your skin is naturally much much browner.

      This is a storm in a teacup.

      • ThaiGay

        do you know what racism mean?

      • Thaiwhore

        Third world problem

      • hello

        @Thaiwhore you are stupid saying that. u must be something nothing in your world. Pity on you . Are you living in the garage?

    • Ark Saroj

      pls read, from the photographer.

    • arksaroj

      Please read. Don’t be a retard. I forward this from Vogue thailand page, an email from the photographer.

    • Will

      It’s not an issue of racism, or at least not in the sense that the Western world would understand it. Thailand has a very peculiar social construction of blackness vs. whiteness which is entirely independent of Western constructions of racism. Whiteness in Thailand is indicative of class and leisure, while blackness is associated with manual field labor, i.e. rice farmers. Thais are highly sensitive to their peer perception, so of course they will all want to be seen as high-class professionals who don’t toil in the sun all day. Rather than equating this with the American civil rights struggle, you could rather equate it with people from farmtowns, not wanting to be seen as rednecks, upgrading their wardrobe from overalls, getting caps put on their missing teeth and buying jazz CDs. Thais also strive to bring themselves to the first-world level of their North Asian counterparts, Korea and Japan, who are mostly “white-skinned” Asians. It is common practice to digitally whiten almost every photograph, even for photo IDs. In fact you typically have to request your photo NOT to be whitened here. Considering that this is for a beauty magazine, it is doubly common practice, as the majority of purchasing readers will be working Bangkokian Thai women, many with tanned skin, hell-bent on finding ways to make themselves as “white” as Naomi was able to. It is not as sinister as it would seem to someone unaware of Thai cultural ideosyncracies.

      • MammaSweetpea

        Ok. so explain the eye colour change. And really, with all due respect, if light skin is a thing in Thailand then why hire a very dark model in the first place? Just get a light skinned model and be done.
        I’m not saying I think they were being racist, it just seems stupid to take a dark person and lighten the crap out of them, if you liked them for who they were.

      • DreaTheGreat

        How is this not sinister??? that’s it. I’m done with the internet.

      • Liz

        Your comment only goes to prove that it is as sinister as it would seem. This is comparable to the phenomenon in American black culture where lighter skin is seen as more beautiful, even among members of the black community, because black has been defined so strongly as the “other” by dominant “white” culture for the entirety of modern American history. The construction of blackness versus whiteness in Thai culture may be, as you say, entirely independent of the western construction of race and racism. But that does not make the construction more acceptable or less poignant. In fact, what you describe here is the same kind of “otherness” for dark skin in Thai culture. As you said yourself “Whiteness in Thailand is indicative of class and leisure, while blackness is associated with manual field labor, i.e. rice farmers.” You also said “the majority of purchasing readers will be working Bangkokian Thai women, many with tanned skin, hell-bent on finding ways to make themselves as ‘white’ as Naomi was able to.” No person should be told by any society (whether westernized or not) that white is better, that they should desire a lighter skin in order to appear high-class.

        You might view yourself as more in tune with “Thai cultural idiosyncrasies” than the average westerner. But, in the course explaining how Thai culture views whiteness, you ignore the fact that in that culture, “whiteness” is seen as somehow superior to or more attractive than the “other.” And yes, a magazine perpetuating the “otherness” of dark skin, by taking a very dark skinned (and freaking gorgeous to boot) model and making her lighter, is
        totally sinister.

    • Katie

      I think the blue eyes might be the most offensive part. Sheesh. The whole thing is terrible.

      • Heard it from the crew

        The thing is she wore those blue contact lenses on the day of the shoot. Just so you know

    • bleh

      she wears honey brown contacts all the time, so she could have just as easily put blue ones in.

    • wnpssb

      Umm…how about western people love tanned skin? I think they are same idea.

      And you should work more about the picture concept before judging it.

    • DEAr

      What you think is funny

    • stupid

      i take pictures by instagram and add filter
      making my pictures look cool,retro,old,lomo
      so.i turned racist?????

    • KohK

      if editing photos make you a racist, i think everyone does it nowadays
      well… she always wears brown contacts if you didnt know that…
      stop the hate if you wont try to understand a thing before you write the articles

    • Guest

      I don’t like where they assume that blue contacts can’t turn dark brown eyes blue. My mother, who has dark brown eyes, confused the crap out of my roommate one day when she was wearing light gray contacts, which as you would have it turned her eyes gray. Wow, my mom looks really white in that picture…

    • Victoria Umesi

      Contacts can definitely change dark brown eyes blue. Just ask my mother…

    • Tina Beanie

      All Asian countries see whiter skin as a sign of higher class and beauty. They make no apology for it. Like Will said, all big stars in Asian countries have whiter skin and western facial features. Lots of spa/clinics on every block that do both. A blogger from Singapore that has a blog I read put up some old photos of her from 2009 and it looks nothing like she does now. She had tanned skin, broad nose and different eyes. Now she is very white, same nose job that Naomi has above and heart shaped face from botox injections in the jaw. Most of the bloggers also wear colored contacts to make the pupil bigger and more doll like.

    • collinnyo145

      my Aunty Addison got an
      awesome blue Mercedes M-Class ML63 AMG by working part-time online. published
      here J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

    • FemelleChevalier


      This is not racism as viewed by the Western society. If you’re going to criticize it, then don’t look at it like an American. Look at it in the point of view of Asians: this is about an old social construct that countries in Asia shares stemming from their history.

      Repeat, this is NOT racism as how Americans sees it. You could’ve at least included that because this is awfully inaccurate and ignorant. This is more (appropriately) similar — like one commenter said — to when pale individuals are tanning.

    • Myra Esoteric

      She looks more Asian, not European. Which is sensible since it is Vogue Thailand, and whitening is the cultural equivalent of tanning in the West. Like how an Asian or Latin American actress would go for a paler look in their original country and then for a deeply bronzed look in the West.

      If they wanted to make her Euro/American beauty standard looking, they would have lightened her hair as well.