Last InStyle Magazine’s Kerry Washington Photoshop fail reached fever pitch as a a slew of angry fans that attacked InStyle on social media for altering the actress’ skin for the magazine’s March 2015 cover.

One concerned commentator wrote:

“I know her makeup artist does a wonderful job at matching her skin tone… So this is definitely lighting and post production work. Why are they still doing this? In essence…in this industry it’s cool to be tan (same photographer shot a Vogue cover and the white model is super tan but Kerry is white washed?). It’s cool to appropriate blackness but heavens when you actually have a black person on set…let’s over light her to make her appear lighter! Perhaps your post production department or who ever controlled the lighting that day needs diversity training…”


On Thursday, InStyle posted the following note online:

“We are super fans of Kerry Washington here at InStyle. To feature her on the cover of our March spring fashion issue is both an honor and a delight. We have heard from those who have spoken out about our newsstand cover photograph, concerned that Kerry’s skin tone was lightened. While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern. We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward.”

The Scandal actress, however, seemed pleased with her cover and tweeted this message to fans:

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This of course is not the first time Washington has alleged fell victim to skin ligtening on a magazine cover alongside other celebrities who have suffered similar Photoshop fails.


Kerry Washington

Only a year ago, Washington was at the centre of a similar controversy with her Lucky cover. At the time, readers pointed out that Washington’s cover photo had received heavy editing on her skin tone and eyes.


Lupita Nyong’o 

Another actress who suffered heavy retouching or poor artistic choices is the dark skinned actress Nyong’o. When she landed her Vanity Fair editorial in February 2014, fans took to social media to criticise the fashion magazine for lightening the actress’s gorgeous dark complexion.




Naomi Campbell 

When in November 2014 Vogue Thailand hit the newsstands the supermodel’s fans were quick to raise eyebrows and alarms at her lighter complexion on the cover. The magazine denied allegations of skin lightening claiming that the look was a result of the photographer’s “signature style [is] pastel, with light (natural) soft colours created by using lighting techniques and make-up for his results.”



The critics were quick to point out Riri looked paler than normal when she appeared on the cover of British Vogue in 2011. The editor’s answer? “The reality is that the pictures that were published came in exactly how they have been published – with absolutely no skin lightening. If her skin does look pale it is probably because of the very strong sunlight in LA that day. We worked with her chosen hair and makeup team to present her in the way she was most comfortable with.”


Gabourey Sidibe 

After her Oscar nomination, in 2010 Gabourey Sidibe was featured on the cover of Elle magazine for the magazine’s 25th anniversary issue. So far so good… until the readers realised she was looking several shades lighter. Editor-in-chief Robbie Myers responded to the criticism with: “It sort of boils down to this. At a photo shoot, in a studio, that is a fashion shoot, that’s glamorous, the lighting is different. The photography is different than a red carpet shot from a paparazzi. We absolutely did not lighten her skin.”


Sanaa Lathan 

Despite being light in complexion, the actress looked even lighter on the cover of the Uptown Magazine. In response, the magazine published a provocative piece, “Lighten Up: Does Skin Tone Still Matter” but neither denied or accepted the accusations that they had altered Lathan’s complexion.

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Halle Berry 

Another actress who got the “white wash” was Berry with her 2009 Harper’s Bazaar cover. Considering the actress is biracial, the magazine’s choice to make her skin lighter was even more curious.


Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

ELLE strikes again, showing it’s not only black celebrities who fall victim to bad artistic choices. Indian actress Bachchan was furious with ELLE India cover showing her a few shades lighter. A source told the Times of India at the time: “Aishwarya’s first reaction was disbelief. She is clearly the global face of the contemporary Indian woman. The last thing she’d want is to have a global image coloured by a racial suggestion.”



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