zendaya takes a stand against retouching

“These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have.”

by Emily Manning and i-D Staff
21 October 2015, 4:50pm

Zendaya isn't afraid of confrontation in the name of positive change. When Giuliana Rancic derided the dreadlocks the young actress sported to the 2015 Oscars as reeking of "patchouli oil or weed," Zendaya published a poignant response on Instagram calling out how culturally offensive these comments are. Last night, when she saw that images from a new magazine cover shoot had been retouched, the Disney star took to social media to discuss the practice's damaging impacts and encourage self love.

"Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19-year-old hips and torso quite manipulated," her caption read. The actress shared a side-by-side comparison of Modeliste Magazine's pre and post retouched images. The Photoshop job slimmed curves on her hips and thighs and dramatically emphasized her eye makeup -- changes she argues propagate damaging beauty ideals. "These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have."

Commenters have responded with an outpouring of support, with many praising her honesty and body positivity as the reason they look up to her. "Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it," her caption read. Zendaya also took to Instagram to share a similarly motivating message about the recent release of her dreadlocked Barbie, thanking Mattel "for allowing me to be apart of your diversification and expansion of the definition of beauty."

We're stoked to see Zendaya and fellow young talents use their high profile public positions to incite a critical new dialogue around what beauty means today. Amandla Stenberg has also used Instagram as a platform to encourage conversations about race and representation. 


Text Emily Manning
Image via @zendaya