When it comes to overzealous airbrushing on magazine covers, there's no shortage of media outlets ready to call out the perpetrators. But rarely do complaints come from cover stars themselves—and even more rarely are those complaints voiced in front of a crowd of thousands at a massive event for said magazine.
Leave it to the always outspoken Lady Gaga, Glamour's December cover star and one of the magazine's Women of the Year, to take it upon herself to do just that.
Last night, while the singer was accepting an award from Glamour at the magazine's annual Women of the Year ceremony at Carnegie Hall (other honorees included Malala Yousafzai, Barbra Streisand and Melinda Gates), Gaga criticized her cover photo, saying, “I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft…I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning.”
She went on to add, “It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers…When the covers change, that's when culture changes." Gaga also said that she'd have liked to forefeit her cover to the very deserving Yousafzai.
Although Gaga seemed most concerned with misrepresentation of her body from the neck up, most of the criticism the Glamour cover received prior to her comments was targeted at the digitally altered size of her waist (or, as Fashionista put it, “the teeniest of tiny waists”), not her face or hair. At the same time, other outlets praised Gaga's “toned down and more natural” look.
In response, Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive told Adweek via email, "We love the cover—which captures exactly the way Gaga looked at our shoot—but we think her bigger point, that women like Malala Yousafzai are also cover-worthy, is RIGHT ON, and we couldn't agree more. We're proud of the diversity of women we show on our pages, and the diversity of opinions they represent—frankly, Gaga's willingness to challenge how American institutions think is a major reason we honored her to begin with."
This latest Glamour cover, it's worth noting, has elicited nowhere near the level of outrage sparked by Gaga’s September 2012 Vogue cover, in which she was photoshopped down to a fraction of her actual size. And despite the media brouhaha that followed, Gaga made no public comment about that cover.