jewish celebrities

Lena Dunham Accuses Magazine of Photoshopping Her Body

Lena Dunham

via Instagram

Lena Dunham is the cover girl for the March issue of the magazine Tentaciones, the monthly supplement to Spain’s highest-circulating newspaper El País. The Jewish creator and star on HBO’s “Girls” has some beef with the editors, however. While she was happy to be featured in the magazine, she was disappointed to see her body may have been photoshopped to be thinner than it actually is.

She went to Instagram to air her frustration on Monday:

“Oh hello El Pais! I am genuinely honored to be on your cover and so happy you licensed a pic by @ruvenafanador, who always makes me feel gorgeous. BUT this is NOT what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like–the magazine has done more than the average photoshop. So if you’re into what I do, why not be honest with your readers? Much love, Lena.”

Tentaciones subsequently published an open letter on Tuesday addressing Dunham’s concerns. E! News translated the letter from Spanish to English:

“Dear Lena,

As you know, we have devoted the March cover of Tentaciones to you. With it we wanted to celebrate the success of your series Girls and reflect on your impact as an artist and activist in various social and political causes. However, today we have learned of your dissatisfaction.

Of course, we are aware that any medium has to take responsibility for what it publishes, but this photo was previously approved by the agency, the photographer and your publicist. For our cover, we used a picture from a session you did in 2013 with photographer Ruven Afanador, published at the time by Entertainment Weekly. Tentaciones acquired that picture through the Corbis agency and used the original that was sent to us without applying any retouching. Those who know and follow our magazine know that we do not use Photoshop or other digital tools to change the physique of the people featured on our cover or inside stories. This time we just cropped the original image to fit the format of our cover.

Here you can see the original photo shared in his day by the photographer Ruven Afanador on his Facebook page and then the cover of Tentaciones. As you can see, the image is exactly the same.

We are pleased that you hold your rebellious spirit. Leave your address and we will send you our magazine every month for free so you can verify that we like to reflect things as they are.”

After the statement was issues, The Corbis Agency confirmed the magazine’s photo usage, stating:

“I can confirm the magazine have used the photo as supplied by Corbis. In line with standard practice, all retouching would have been cleared through Lena’s PR before being made available for syndication.”

Here are the original images:

Lena Dunham, photographed in New York City on January 8th, 2013 for Entertainment Weekly…

Posted by Ruven Afanador on Thursday, February 14, 2013

So far, about 40,000 people have already liked her photo on Instagram. It’s no secret that Lena is extremely open and honest about her body as a way to promote body positivity and acceptance of all body types (which is something I love about her as a woman and a feminist).

Not her natural habitat but she’s trying her darnedest!!!

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

While it does seem like the error may have been a result of a miscommunication on behalf of her publicist or PR team, I’m also grateful to Dunham for raising these issues and not being afraid to express her dissatisfaction when it comes to how her body is being portrayed. Because this happens to female celebrities and public figures all the time, and it’s not OK. It might not seem like such a big deal, but it actually really is, because how we perceive ourselves and others makes a world of difference.

Read More: 

Why Lena Dunham’s Lingerie Selfie is Important

I’m Tired of People Telling Me I Don’t ‘Look Sick’ Because I Am

Lena Dunham Bravely Opens Up About Health Struggles & Cutting Back from Work


Joanna Valente

Joanna Valente is the Editorial Assistant at Kveller. She is the author of Sirs & Madams The Gods Are Dead, and Marys of the Sea (forthcoming), and received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. You can follow her @joannasaid on Twitter, @joannacvalente on Instagram, or email her at

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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