Fashion blogs were abuzz yesterday when model and designer Kimora Lee Simmons debuted the ad for her new fragrance, Dare Me. It features a noticeably slimmed-down version of the fashion mogul, who had a baby boy less than a year ago. Some even speculated that photo editors had placed Simmons' head on a skinny model's body.
But when Simmons' Twitter fans asked her about the photo, she answered them matter-of-factly on her official Twitter page, saying: "Of course that's my body!!! With all the help I could get from the airbrush!!! Lol!"
Her response to accusations of flattering photo editing -- admitting to it immediately and then laughing it off -- is unusual in the wake of recent photo editing mini-scandals, such as the dust-up over Demi Moore's appearance on the cover of W magazine in November. But in that case critics were claiming that it was just a poor editing job, not airbrushing, that seemed to make Moore look thinner. Both Moore and W's photo editors deny that retouching of any kind occurred.
Simmons, whose women's fashion line is called Baby Phat, spoke openly last month with Momlogic.com about trying to lose the weight she put on while pregnant with her 11-month-old baby, Kenzo Lee. She also addressed the subject of photo retouching head-on.
"I'm not the Hollywood mom that says you have to be a size 2 by tomorrow," Simmons said. "I don't think what you see in the magazines is what you should strive to be like, because all those images are heavily retouched. It's more about your mental, emotional, and spiritual stability. If you make healthy life choices, you'll look great. You should be comfortable at any size or any age. Whatever you have, you should be proud of yourself."
A mother of three whose fashion and personality empire includes writing books (2006's Fabulosity), appearing on her own reality TV shows (E!'s "Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane"), and being the CEO of Phat Fashions, the line she started with her ex-husband Russell Simmons, Simmons still finds time to use Twitter heavily to communicate with fans.
After her initial response to a fan in which she admitted to airbrushing, the fan queried: "But why do you have to airbrush? Can't you just use your real beauty?" Simmons quickly replied: "Of course! I do! But every girl could use a lil retouch every once in a while no? Its all good!"
Depending on your perspective, her breezy attitude about digital enhancements either reflects the message of her perfume's ad campaign or contradicts it. Kimora told Women's Wear Daily that one of the ad's taglines, "Dare to be me," is about "empowerment and self-reliance."
One thing is certain: The whole to-do over Kimora's airbrushed image is definitely getting a lot of people talking about Dare Me, which can't be a bad thing for the savvy businesswoman.
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