Stargazing

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KC’s Esther Honig asks world to Photoshop her face, goes viral

06/26/2014 12:01 PM

06/26/2014 1:56 PM

Truth? Esther Honig has a beautiful face.

But she asked people around the world to Photoshop a photo of her face – sans makeup – to “make” her beautiful. The results of her experiment, which showcase how standards of beauty vary greatly around the globe, have gone viral.

Honig, a bilingual blogger and social media enthusiast who bills herself as a “human interest reporter who works in both broadcast and print mediums,” called her project Before & After.

She got the idea when she learned how to use the international freelancing website Fiverr. She tells BuzzFeed that she saw how many people on the site were offering Photoshop skills.

“It immediately occurred to me that in this pool of workers, each individual likely had an aesthetic preference particular to their own culture,” she tells BuzzFeed.

So she contacted “nearly 40 individuals, from more than 25 countries such as Sri Lanka, Ukraine, The Philippines, and Kenya. Some are experts in their field, others are purely amateur,” she writes on her blog.

She asked each designer to “pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image.”

Her only request of them: “Make me beautiful.”

As she expected, the definitions of “beautiful” varied widely from one country to the next. But sometimes they even differed within the same country.

She tells BuzzFeed that she was surprised by how drastically some people altered her image.

“Seeing some jobs for the first time made me shriek,” she said. “Other times images, like the one from Morocco, took my breath away because they were far more insightful than I could have expected.”

The bigger lesson?

“Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive,” she writes.

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