I have wondered for some time if the growing trend of celebrities appearing nude in magazines is them leading the way, or following where their fans are already going. Years ago the only venue for this would have been Playboy. Usually the star, singer, or actress wanting to boast their career, relaunch it, or just to create some buzz about themselves would enter their pages.
Their glossy images were different than the rest since they arrived with a large degree of creative control and final say on selection. Usually a mixture of nude and boudoir, they had a purpose for the celebrity, because they also reflected the celebrity’s “brand” of themselves.
It has changed so much. They can do the same in a fashion magazine now. Many like Heidi Klum and Halle Berry mention almost casually about the nude portraits they have on their home walls, taking interviewers on personal tours of their walls. Allure nearly monthly will have a layout with an actress, along with an interview about her experience. The actors turning up in their pages cross all age lines, with some surprising names.
I noticed that all their comments in the interviews about their experience were nearly identical to what our clients express after theirs. It is so often about empowerment, freedom and expression. The right of passage concept, in that doing this becomes a milestone marker in their lives, emerges a lot.
It’s like a mirror, but I wonder which is the reflection: the celebrity or the average woman.
As the popularity of boudoir and nude portraits increases, the resulting photographs are exploding into the social media arena. This is also the outlet that stars are turning to for exposure. It’s a great place for them to get attention, create media buzz and, of course, connect with their fans, influencing their choices or confirming them.
Body Painting has become the veil that lets the more milder or safer star still be exposed. Even such media sensitive talents like Beyonce have appeared recently on magazine covers with only a layer of glittering body paint covering her assets. She is one of many taking that route.
Interestingly, it matches the rise in the number of body painted client work we are doing. It’s gone from one every several months, to two or three a month with upward momentum.
We, of course, are delighted with this. My assistant, Emily, recently commented that we empower women through imagery. A great turn of phrase.
My suspicion is that the stars are noticing the shift and the trend drift. With the populace nodding that this is okay and embracing it, they are enjoying the same expression and freedom. In many ways I think the celebrities are more followers of things than innovators of it, yet their presence in the expression – or exposure, you might say – increases the desire for it.
So it’s a bit of an infinity circle. It is refreshing to see that women are taking ownership of it, though. Emily’s comment after her session was that one of the empowerments it gave her was her body. She liked that.
I think the stars who give up so much of themselves enjoy the control of the same thing.
My impression is that average women are leading the change, with the celebrities making it more visible. What is your conclusion?