Psychologist reveals the sad reason why celebrities edit their Instagram photos beyond all recognition – and why their fans NEVER call them out
A leading psychologist has offered her thoughts on a worrying new phenomenon sweeping social media.
In recent years, Australians have become increasingly exposed to images of celebrities looking almost unrecognisable thanks to excessive editing.
While it’s no secret that magazines and advertisers publish heavily-retouched photos, the advent of easy-to-use apps such as Facetune means that stars can now take matters into their own hands.
Revealed: Psychologist Rachel Tomlinson has revealed why celebrities edit their Instagram photos beyond all recognition. Pictured: Mishel Karen looking unrecognisable in a photo shared last Friday (right), and on Married At First Sight last year (left)
A slew of Australian reality stars have been accused of Photoshopping themselves beyond recognition, including Married At First Sight brides Mishel Karen, Sarah Roza and Martha Kalifatidis.
The likes of Florence Moerenhout and Jake Ellis from Bachelor in Paradise and Love Island Australia’s Amelia Marni have also faced scrutiny.
‘The selfie culture is prevalent and it’s rooted in insecurity’, said Rachel Tomlinson, a registered psychologist and founder of Toward Wellbeing.
Is that really you? Married At First Sight’s Sarah Roza looked unrecognisable in a photo shared to Instagram earlier this year (left). Pictured right on the red carpet in 2017
Like everyone else, celebrities are vulnerable to feeling insecure and often turn to social media for affirmation of self-worth.
‘Image-based social media platforms, particularly Instagram, create situations where a person’s sense of validation comes externally from engagement with posts – likes, comments and followers,’ she explained.
‘When we receive notifications – and the resulting affirmation of self-worth – our body releases dopamine which is a “feel good hormone” that has an addictive quality.’
Bizarre: Martha Kalifatidis, another former MAFS bride, rarely looks like her actual self on Instagram (left). Pictured right on Married At First Sight
The overwhelmingly superficial nature of showbusiness means that many stars tie their self-worth to their physical appearance.
‘Celebrities are looking for approval so they put their best foot forward aesthetically speaking, which makes them likely to use Photoshop in the same way that others do: to seek approval and present themselves in the best light,’ she said.
However, Rachel warned that ubiquitous editing of photos could potentially lead to a sense of distorted reality.
Trick of the eye? In 2017, The Bachelor’s Florence Moerenhout shared this photo of herself at St Kilda Beach in Melbourne. Fans were distracted by the boardwalk, which appeared to bend unnaturally around her bottom and thighs, suggesting she had used a warp tool
That’s awkward! In 2017, a warped wall in the background of this selfie posted by Bachelorette star Jake Ellis led to suggestions he had digitally enhanced his bicep
She also explained why fans rarely call out stars who post photos of themselves that are clearly misleading.
‘Some research tells us we aren’t that great at picking up that images have been edited,’ Rachel said.
‘It could be that we expect or are used to seeing images that have been edited that we know it’s occurring but we don’t acknowledge it.’
Rachel also noted that many fans ‘crave the approval of their idol’, and so are unlikely to hold them accountable for their failures.
Airbrushed to oblivion? In January 2019, Love Island star Amelia Marni (left) appeared to have one leg in this poolside picture with boyfriend Josh Moss (right) due to heavy airbrushing