A former Victoria’s Secret retoucher recently spilled the tricks of the trade to Refinery29, dishing on everything from hairy models to making ultrathin bodies look curvier.
The anonymous photo editor no longer works for the lingerie giant because the ethics of the business took too large a toll — “I know what I’m doing is wrong,” she told Refinery29 — but she racked up insight into the making of a Victoria’s Secret ad.
One gem: Models often show up to shoots unshaven, knowing that any body hair would be edited out.
“They come to these photo shoots and, like, they have their arms up in the classic beach pose, and they have, like, hairy armpits. They all have stubbly pubes — all the normal stuff [nonmodels have],” the source says. Even if their armpits were unnaturally smooth they’d still have to be edited — all armpits show up gray in photos, the retoucher says.
And as much as Photoshoppers trim off after the fact, stylists add in on shoots. During swim shoots (a thing of the past, now that VS has exited the swimwear business), models would wear pushup bras under their suits, the source says. Retouchers would then edit the bras out and — voila! — instant, gravitationally impossible cleavage in a bandeau top.