An alleged unretouched image of Cindy Crawford from a 2013 Marie Claire Mexico and Latin America cover went viral this past February, and while it was later reported that the photograph may have been falsely representing the supermodel, she still says she felt "conflicted" about it.
"I felt blindsided," Crawford told ELLE Canada. "That picture didn't reflect what I saw when I looked in the mirror -- even in the worst dressing room lighting."
That being said, the 49-year-old mother-of-two didn't feel comfortable speaking out against the image, because it was being praised by some for its "realness."
"It put me in a tough spot: I couldn't come out against it because I'm rejecting all these people who felt good about it, but I also didn't embrace it because it wasn't real," she said. "And even if it were real, I wouldn't have wanted it out there."
Crawford confessed, "I felt really manipulated and conflicted, so I kept my mouth shut."
She also didn't understand the popularity of the photograph.
"Why would seeing a bad picture of me make other people feel good?" she wondered. "I know my body, and I know it's not perfect, but maybe I have a false body image; maybe I think I look better than I do. I think that most women are hard on themselves."
Crawford later confessed, "Sometimes, the images that women see in magazines make them feel inferior -- even though the intention is never to make anyone feel less."
She continued, "So somehow seeing a picture of me was like seeing a chink in the armour. Whether it was real or not isn’t relevant, although it’s relevant to me. I don’t try to present myself as perfect."
After the release of the photo, celebrity photographer John Russo said in a statement to ABC News that the image was "stolen or unlawfully accessed and then altered and distributed to the media."
"It has been falsely claimed that this photograph represents an un-retouched image of Cindy Crawford. This is not true," Russo said. "It is a fraudulent altered version of my photograph. I am grateful that this fact has been brought to the public's attention and that corrections are being run in the media."
However, Marie Claire commented at the time that the photo was, in fact, accurate. "No matter where the photo came from, it's an enlightenment -- we've always known Crawford was beautiful, but seeing her like this only makes us love her more," said a statement from the magazine. "[The photo] is real, it is honest, and it is gorgeous."