Did ESPN Magazine photoshop Nicki Minaj too much on its cover with Kobe Bryant?

We here at The Gloss are all about professional neon crayon and staring contest champ Nicki Minaj, as well as her epic Instagram account. We also love it when celebrities and models call out publications for butchering their faces, figures and identifiably human features. Therefore, yesterday was an especially interesting day of Minaj social media.

On her Instagram, Minaj posted the above image of her ESPN Magazine cover with Kobe Bryant accompanied by the caption, “When retouching goes wrong.” She subsequently posted these behind-the-scenes pictures of the shoot:

Did ESPN Magazine photoshop Nicki Minaj too much on its cover with Kobe Bryant? Did ESPN Magazine photoshop Nicki Minaj too much on its cover with Kobe Bryant? Did ESPN Magazine photoshop Nicki Minaj too much on its cover with Kobe Bryant?

The caption for the last picture: “I love my personal unretouched photos where my forehead doesn’t mysteriously grow in length.”

What’s odd about this cover to me is that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is different about Nicki Minaj’s face, but there is absolutely something just…off. Her face’s shape does look altered to me, particularly regarding her cheekbones and actual head size, but that could potentially be the angle at which the photos were taken. In her behind-the-scenes images, she looks sultry and intriguing; in the final cover, she looks vacant and uncomfortable. I would say it’s the photo choice, but beyond that, I think it has to do with their posing and how eerily smooth her skin looks.

Minaj’s words are important, just Lady Gaga‘s were when she did this last year regarding Glamour‘s remarkable overuse of the blur tool on her cover. Yes, as bloggers, we can get annoyed and angry and hoot and holler all we want about beauty standards and photo editing (and can occasionally be damaging when the argument is ill-conceived and intentions misplaced). While it is always important to have an ongoing dialogue examining the rules set before us normal folks as well as celebrities, our personal opinions will by no means have the same sort of instantaneous, heated reaction that comes from the over-edited celebrity publicly stating that she herself wishes that people didn’t opt to alter her appearance so greatly.

All images from Nicki Minaj’s Instagram.