Claudia Cusano shows the girls pictures of Tyra Banks.
During the Writers’ Room’s winter break program, Claudia Cusano, editor of NUVO magazine, spoke to a group of girls about the ways that magazines portray women. She showed shocking images of celebrities pre- and post-PhotoShopping, and the girls played “spot the difference,” pointing out the many, many changes that women’s appearances undergo before they show up in a magazine. At one point, one of the girls said, “I like the ‘before’ Mariah better.” We all agreed. 

Claudia and NUVO magazine are part of a new movement of media moguls who portray women as they really are. She showed fashion spreads that she’d marked up using her red pen (which, the girls noted, is kind of like a teacher’s pen), and her suggested changes focused on things like shadows and composition, never the models’ bodies.

Thanks to Clauida’s presentation, the girls gained the knowledge that when you look at magazines, you have to remember that—although the people in the pictures are real—the images are not real. 

Early in the afternoon, one of the girls had said that she looks at magazines to be inspired, and Claudia said that she wants her work and her magazine to inspire people, too—but for the right reasons. Her strong values, positive outlook and natural beauty definitely inspired our group of young women.

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