Earlier this year, Esther Honig presented a Photoshop challenge to people around the world, asking them to take a photo of her face and make her look beautiful. The results revealed stunning truths about how different cultures around the world perceive beauty. Now, another woman named Priscilla Yuki Wilson has followed suit and sent out photos of herself for other people to “make beautiful.” The only difference this time? Wilson is biracial.
The Huffington Post reported on Priscilla’s Photoshop challenge and how it might differ from Honig’s challenge. Wilson is half Japanese and half African-American. She was interested to try the challenge because of her lifelong struggle with her cultural identity. Without belonging exclusively to one race, Wilson found it difficult to understand who she was and where she belonged.
“Growing up, my Japanese mother would often tell me to wear sunblock and to stay out of the sun to avoid getting ‘too dark,’” she said on her blog. “Being that my father is black, this paradox always troubled me because I was clearly a product of a radical racial union. In these subtle ways I was taught that my natural self did not comply with conventional standards set forth by society, saying fairer skin is better, straighter hair is more attractive, and that skinny tastes good.”
Wilson sent a photo of herself to Photoshop editors from 25 different countries from all around the world. In response, she received 18 Photoshopped pictures. You can see the results of how the editors changed Wilson’s appearance in the images below.
Yahoo News made a series of observations about the Photoshop results, noting that editors in the European Union made Wilson’s skin lighter and fairer while slimming her face shape. However, Photoshop users in Montenegro darkened Wilson’s eyes and changed her eyes from brown to blue.
“In contrast to Honig’s results, where her face became a canvas to express more than a dozen contrasting beauty standards, I found that my face actually challenged the application of photoshop in this instance. As a biracial women there is no standard of beauty or mold that can easily fit my face.”
The societal implications of this experiment in beauty will have to be left up to the viewers of the images. What do you think about the Photoshop challenge? Which edited photo do you think best represents beauty? Or do you think Wilson’s original, un-Photoshopped image was the best representation? Let us know in the comments.