An InStyle magazine cover photo of Jennifer Aniston looking very dark and very airbrushed was drawing a lot of criticism after it was posted to Instagram on Wednesday.
“When we asked for south Asian representation in the media this isn’t what we meant,” said one commenter. Others left brief thoughts: “Very brown.” “Blackface.” “I didn’t know she was a person of color.” “That’s a wax figure. Where’s Jennifer?”
The magazine posted five covers, all featuring Aniston, billed as a “babe eternal,” to promote its October beauty issue. But the one showing the actress in a black strapless bra and hair-encircling necklace was drawing many more comments than the others, on which “The Morning Show” actress more closely resembled her usual appearance.
“I get that these covers are supposed to be channeling the glamour of yesteryear but that ‘glamour’ routinely marginalized women of color for white women (whether made tan or otherwise). Seeing Jennifer Aniston several shades darker than normal reminds me of that legacy. In 2019, if you want a brown-skinned woman on your cover, put a brown-skinned woman on your cover,” a commenter said.
There were, of course, myriad positive declarations as well about Aniston and the styling of the covers, which one person called “divine.” Negative remarks seemed to be aimed firmly at the magazine, not the actress. She was called a “goddess” more than once.
“Jen is an icon, and loved by so many. She doesn’t need the heavy airbrushing and 10 shades too dark ‘tan’ I suppose magazines such as yours assume we’re too blind to notice? Trust me we’d have a lot more respect for you if you just left the heavy handed airbrushing out of your covers,” one person wrote.
“She is gorgeous n has natural beauty. What u did to her on this cover is insulting to her,” said another.
“Congrats on making her look nothing like herself,” said a third.
Despite Instagramming all the covers, InStyle posted only one on Twitter — and it wasn’t the quasi-controversial one.
Ironically, in the accompanying article, Aniston talks about her continuing aversion to social media and her concern for younger users who are still trying to figure out their identity.
“They’re doing it through someone else’s lens, which has been filtered and changed… and then it’s ‘like me, don’t like me, did I get liked?’ There’s all this comparing and despairing,” Aniston said.
Filtered and changed, indeed. Then again, there was that one Instagram comment that stuck with us.
“Maybe she got a spray tan,” the person wrote. “Lighten up people. I like it.”
Here are the other four InStyle covers: