Photoshop snafus in glossies usually involve excessive slenderizing, or reconfiguring a body part in a manner that makes it look plain bizarre, not better. (Or, sometimes, awkwardly just leaving an entire body part out of the picture — which happens way more often than you'd think.) But Gigi Hadid's cover of Vogue China had some more specific detailing done: The model's signature birthmarks are mysteriously absent from the photo. Hadid's lack of freckles and/or moles is especially conspicuous because a wide expanse of her abs are on display — a place where she has several spots. Hadid has once even said these marks, which she gets checked regularly, make her recognizable from the neck down. In an interview with Allure last year, she stated, "A lot of people get mad at me when they're Photoshopped out. But I don't want them Photoshopped. If they are, that's the client's decision. I love them." Hadid posted an image of the recent Vogue China cover on her Instagram a week ago, with no mention of any strange digital manipulations.
Her followers certainly noticed the alterations, though: "Where are her moles?" wrote one user, while another lamented the aggressive tweaks: "They edit you too much, you [sic] gorgeous birth marks and all." There are over 4K comments on the post, including ones demanding some answers: "WHERE ARE YOUR CUTE LIL FRECKLES...WHY WOULD YOU PHOTOSHOP THAT".
Other Instagram fans of Hadid weren't too happy with the Dutch-Palestinian model's tweaked skin tone in the shot: "Way to [sic] white wash," one user commented. (Hadid has not responded to these comments as of press time.) Photoshopped skin-lightening on magazine covers has, unfortunately, transpired plenty of times before. It happened last February with Kerry Washington's InStyle cover (and also, possibly, on the December 2013 Lucky cover she graced). While oversaturated lighting could be to blame in this case, it's likely that Vogue China did alter Hadid's warm Dutch-Palestinian skin tone a shade or two, given how sought-after light complexions are in many Asian countries, including China, where light skin is often an indication of class. And it's not just Photoshop, either: According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the global market for skin lighteners is projected to reach $23 billion by 2020 — and the Asian Pacific market, led by India and China, is set to grow by 11.2% in that time. Hadid's lightened skin hue and vanished birthmarks aren't typical Photoshop faux pas, but that doesn't make them any less disappointing — especially given the strict, exclusive, and unattainable beauty standards they reflect to many readers. We think Hadid is gorgeous — birthmarks and all — and we hope this only makes her and those with equally beautiful marks want to flaunt them even more.