. . . and I am a Photoshopped girl.

Celebrity crushes are nothing new. Long before computers, adolescents and teens, adults too, I imagine, fell “in love” with actors, musicians, and other famous people. Walk into a teenage girl’s bedroom and you’d likely find posters of her crushes or magazines like Tiger Beat, covers clad with the hot stars of the time–Paul McCartney, David Cassidy, Don Johnson, and so on.

To be sure, these photos had been retouched–to remove acne and wrinkles, maybe add more color to their skin and smooth out unevenness in tone. But today, with the invention of computer software like Photoshop, I think there’s a whole lotta manipulation goin’ on, to paraphrase the Jerry Lee Lewis song. Not only are photos being edited for wrinkles and such, but waists are being made smaller, busts and bottoms bigger, and cellulite is being blown to oblivion. We’re falling in love with perfection!

And with the notion that celebrities are perfect comes the desire to emulate perfection of our own. No wonder there’s an increase in people suffering from eating disorders (eating disorders among middle-aged women is on the rise, in fact) and taking advantage of cosmetic surgery procedures.

Kudos to celebrities like Keira Knightley and Brad Pitt, who have refused to have at least some of their photographs photoshopped. I am not one of them, however.

I recently had a professional photo shoot done for business purposes. If you look at the left-hand side of the banner at the top of this blog, you can see the final product. I didn’t look like that at first. I had makeup applied professionally, and I let the woman curl my already-curly hair with a curling iron to make the curls more defined and smoother. This is what the camera captured:

Image of Monica Epstein

Image by Glamour Shots

I think it looks pretty good. But the photography studio took it a step further:

Image of Monica Epstein

Image by Glamour Shots

They smoothed out my wrinkles and evened out my skin tone, taking my freckles away at the same time. My freckles have been with me for as long as I can remember, and with a click of a mouse, they were gone! This “enhancement” darkened my hair and eyes, as well. All in all, I look much more made up, maybe even a bit fake. But I didn’t ask them to lighten the effect. I was on to another problem.

I wanted my brand to consist of turquoise, black, and white (in particular black with white polka dots, but I won’t go into that). I didn’t think the red jacket would clash too badly with my color choices, but my graphic designer didn’t think it was worth the risk; she turned my red jacket turquoise. I have to admit, it blends with the banner much better.

But darned if I don’t find myself looking through my closet for that turquoise jacket every now and then.