Tina Fey is imperfect. It’s one of the things I love most about her. Her most visible imperfection is that long, thin scar that runs from just below her lip up to her left cheek. It comes from a traumatic childhood incident she doesn’t like to talk about. But it’s as much a part of her as her incomparable sense of humor and uncompromising smarts. Tina just isn’t Tina without it. Now if only someone had told Vogue magazine.
The iconic fashion magazine seems to have airbrushed out Tina’s scar on its March cover. In fact, it appears they took it out of all of her entire photospread, her first for the magazine. Now, the fashion industry’s excessive use of Photoshop is well documented. But to remove such a recognizable feature on someone’s face is pretty audacious and equally enraging.
If Tina as Tina isn’t pretty enough for Vogue as is, why did they pick her in the first place? As Tina herself says in the interview: “I feel like I represent normalcy in some way. What are your choices today in entertainment? People either represent youth, power, or sexuality. And then there’s me, carrying normalcy — me and Rachael Ray.”
Granted, most professional photos of Tina are taken from the right side to obscure the scar. Her Harper’s Bazaar cover last year has her so profiled they didn’t need to worry about airbrushing it out. Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, happily showed her scar and all. But posing in a certain direction and removing entirely are two different things: one is positioning, the other is make believe.
I guess what irritates me most about the Photoshopping is that it detracts from another classically hilarious Tina Fey interview. She is, as ever, her superfunnysmart self as Vogue itself proclaims. Take, for example, her fashion philosophy:
I spend most of my time in my daily life trying to be like a fashion noncombatant. My hands are up! I’m not even trying! That said, to talk about the impact of fashion is really interesting. I think so much of it is tied into feminism. I am a post-baby boomer who has been handed a sort of Spice Girls’ version of feminism. We’re supposed to be wearing half-shirts and jumping around. And, you know, maybe that’s not panning out … I think women dress for other women to let them know what their deal is. Because if women were only dressing for men, there would be nothing but Victoria’s Secret. There would be no Dior.
The article is meant to trace her fashion evolution. She fondly recalls her favorite grade school outfit:
When she was in grade school, a cousin gave her some hand-me-downs that included a “colonial-lady” Halloween costume. “It consisted of a bonnet,” says Fey, “and a burlap apron and a long skirt. And I would just wear it sometimes after school.” She stares at me and blinks a couple of times. “As an outfit.” Another pause. “It was the Bicentennial! People were excited!”
And while she sadly does not produce any pictures in said colonial-lady get-up, Tina did show the reporter snaps on her iPhone of other fashion debacles from her youth including a haircut that she said looked like “they cut my hair by folding my head in half and trying to cut out a heart.”
Tina even takes a gentle, but real swing at the fashion industry itself, saying:
I don’t weigh myself. I just go by if my clothes fit. I try not to participate too much in the incredible amount of wasted energy that women have around dealing with food … People will say, “Oh, fashion magazines are so bad, they’re giving girls a negative message” — but we’re also the fattest country in the world, so it’s not like we’re all looking at fashion magazines and not eating. Maybe it just starts a shame cycle: I’m never going to look like that model, so … Chicken McNuggets it is! … I go up and down a few pounds with a relative amount of kindness to myself. And I have a daughter, and I don’t want her to waste her time on all of that.
Best yet, watch her talk about the shoot in this behind-the-scenes video for Vogue.
p.s. I would kill to see her in that big shoulder pads, deep-V, hotpants and roller skates power outfit she mentioned, wouldn’t you?
Look, Vogue, we know you’re supposed to be a style bible. We know you’re all about creating unattainable beauty myths. But when it comes to Tina Fey, imperfect is perfect.