The idea that beauty may vary as much as language around the world is a popular notion — in 2014, journalist Esther Honig went viral after she sent her picture to graphic designers around the world asking them to make her look “beautiful.”
The campaign launched copycats like biracial Priscilla Yuki Wilson as well as Marie Southward who did it with a “plus-sized twist.” Now, a UK-based online doctor service has sent out a similar challenge, spotted on Complex.
OnlineDoctor.SuperDrug.com contacted content marketing agency Fractl to reach out to graphic designers around the world. The Fractl team sent a stock image of a woman posing in her underwear to designers in 18 countries — from the UK to Syria — to find out “how do perceptions of beauty vary across the globe.”
Some of the changes were sparse, but other designers made the model in the picture look like a completely different person. China and Italy in particular had the thinnest Photoshopped images while Spain and Colombia kept the woman fairly robust.
Keep reading to see how 18 designers from around the world envision beauty.
Here was the original picture found on Shutterstock. Fractl sent the image to freelance graphic designers with the message: 'Photoshop her form. The idea is to Photoshop and retouch this woman to make her more attractive to the citizens of your country.'
Fractl wanted to work with primarily female graphic designers. Four of the countries used male graphic designers on the condition that they have input from women. Here's the Philippines' take.
The designers were found on freelance job boards. Fractl did not disclose how much they paid the artists for their troubles. USA obviously gave its model a thigh gap.
China sent back the most altered photo. Fractl estimated the updated model weighed close to 100 pounds. Her face, hair, underwear, and body were all changed beyond recognition.
Colombia kept its design curvier and merely gave the woman more hair and made her skin look less orange.
Italy's made-over version was almost as thin as China's. They also changed the colour of her underwear and shoes.
The Netherlands' designer lightened the woman's hair, made her legs thinner, and added boots and a pink bikini.
Peru focused on making the model's arms and stomach thinner. The designer also changed the woman's eyes.
Ukraine's designer tried to give the model's hair more volume and drastically altered her body. The colour of her underwear and shoes was also changed.
'Some designers in North, South, and Central American countries produced an exaggerated hourglass figure,' the Fractl team said. 'Others in European and Asian nations chose to render her so thin that her estimated BMI, according to a survey we conducted, would fall under or dangerously close to (underweight).'
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