You will not recognize Kerry Washington on the recent cover of Adweek — she barely did herself. The TV actress said she was "taken aback" to see herself completely transformed, describing the cover as Photoshopped.
The day after Adweek’s April 4 issue was published, the 39-year-old "Scandal" star took to Instagram to make her feelings known.
"It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It’s an unfortunate feeling," Washington wrote within a long message on her Instagram.
On the cover, Washington sits in the center in a black-and-white-striped dress, against a background of blue and white circles. She is staring straight out at the reader with her hand resting on her neck. Her skin looks lighter, lips look plumper and eyes smaller.
Although Washington was dissatisfied with the cover, this is not the first time the star has been involved with this issue. After all, in February 2015, InStyle was accused of whitening the actress’ skin for its cover, right next to a "Clear, Beautiful Skin" story headline. Lucky’s January 2014 issue appeared to have airbrushed her features away.
"Look, I’m no stranger to Photoshopping. It happens a lot. In a way," wrote Washington, "we have become a society of picture adjusters."
She admits that she doesn’t always speak out about the "adjustments" made to her image, but admitted to feeling "weary" this time. "I have had the opportunity to address the impact of my altered image in the past and I think it’s a valuable conversation," she wrote.
Fans quickly came to the actress’ aid in the comments on the post. One Instagrammer, Jameelak, wrote, "I really don’t understand why they would need to do this? Firstly, the hyper intense brightness hurts my eyes, secondly it looks completely alien and thirdly why the hell would anyone want to retouch your photos when you already look amazing?"
Other Instagrammers addressed the problem with Photoshopping. Hotpink_mar wrote, "Thank you for speaking out. It first starts with the cover," and Lesha.romeo wrote, "It looks like a brown, older Scarlett Johansson."
Still, the star said she is proud of the profile and the other images of her within the magazine. At the beginning of her Instagram post, she made sure to write about how much she appreciates the magazine. Washington wrote, "I always celebrate it when a respected publication invites me to grace their pages. It’s an honor. And a privilege. And ADWEEK is no exception."
However, she did express disappointment that key points she raised in her interview with the magazine did not make it into the published story. "There are a few things we discussed in the interview that were left out," she wrote. "Things that are important to me (like: the importance of strong professional support and my awesome professional team) and I've been thinking about how to discuss those things with anyone who is interested, in an alternate forum."
After social media lashed out, James Cooper, Adweek’s editorial director, released a statement about Washington’s disappointment. "Kerry Washington is a class act. We are honored to have her grace our pages. To clarify, we made minimal adjustments, solely for the cover's design needs. We meant no disrespect, quite the opposite. We are glad she is enthusiastic about the piece and appreciate her honest comments," he wrote.
Then, Cooper further described the "minimal adjustments" in a tweet posted at 8:15 PM last night. Cooper wrote, "Happy Kerry Washington was proud of her profile, sad cover misses for her. Added volume to hair for dramatic effect. No disrespect."
Happy @kerrywashington was proud of her Adweek profile, sad cover misses for her. Added volume to hair for dramatic effect. No disrespect.— Jim Cooper (@jcoopernyc) April 6, 2016
Overall, the opinionated commenters on his tweet don’t agree with how Cooper handled the situation. Kalivia Pope wrote, "Sorry, but if you have to add in ‘no disrespect’ then your comment is probably disrespectful." Another commenter named Kierra wrote, "Don’t be cute. You changed her whole entire face. We’re not even discussing her ‘volumed hair,’ " and added a GIF of Washington putting on a sarcastic grin for extra measure.
Crystal, another commenter, wrote, "You’re joking right? She addressed the situation with such grace — and she had every right to! Don’t be an ass about this."