Teenage girls learn the truth about airbrushing

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Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder - but schoolgirls have learned not to take fashion images at face value.

Fashion photographer Laura Slater visited teenage girls at Mayville High School in Southsea to tell them the truth about airbrushing.

After two years working in the fashion industry as an airbrusher, Laura saw how widespread retouching is.

She told the schoolgirls that computers are used not just to remove skin blemishes but to remove ribs showing on skinny models or to even add flesh to some very thin models to make them look healthier.

The former University of Portsmouth student also talked about some famous examples such as how Kate Winslet had her legs lengthened and her body made slimmer for the cover of GQ magazine.

And how Olay's advert for a moisturiser featuring 1960s model Twiggy was banned after complaints of her wrinkles being airbrushed.

The 13 to 16-year-old girls who listened yesterday found it an eye-opening experience.

Year 11 pupil Esther Bellingham, 15, said: 'I knew there was some airbrushing, but I didn't realise how widespread it is. I was shocked to hear they airbrush ribs off anorexic models. It's bad not to show real photos.'

Amber Essery, 16, said: 'I thought the fashion industry was really glamorous where everybody has perfect skin and thin figures. But that's not true. There's a lot of pressure on girls to look like models in magazines. I don't feel as pressured now and feel a bit better about myself.'

Issy Good, 16, added: 'I'm going to be less worried about my body image now. Even celebrities who you think look great have their bad days and they only look so good because of computers.

'It was a really good presentation.

'They should have something like it in every school.'

Laura said: 'I had problems myself when I was younger wanting to be as glamorous as the girls in the photographs. If I can help just one of the girls then that will be good enough for me.'