Alix Earle Says Her ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover Shoot Was Unretouched

Alix Earle Says Her ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover Shoot Was Unretouched featured image
Getty Images / Alexander Tamargo / Contributor

Alix Earle recently made her runway debut at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit show at Miami Fashion Week last week and posed for an accompanying cover interview, the first-ever digital cover for the publication. For the iconic shoot, Earle decided that she didn’t want the photos to be retouched, a decision she discussed in a recent TikTok

In the video, Earle shares close-ups of photos from the articles, pointing out specific details that may have been edited had the photos been retouched. “Normally this is something where the skin would be smooth, maybe they’d take out these bumps,” Earle says, pointing to a shot showing her underarms. She adds that her breasts looked “square” due to her implants, a detail that might have otherwise been edited.


Why we decided to do unretouched for this shoot. Love you guys sm your support means everything 🫶🏼🥹

♬ original sound – Alix Earle

Later on in the video, Earle explained why she wanted the photos to be unretouched, even though the alternative would’ve been less nerve-wracking. 

“It probably sounds really stupid, but there’s something comforting in being like, ‘okay they’re going to retouch these photos, they’re going to smooth out all my undereyes, it’s going to look great,’” she says in the clip. “…The more comfortable thing to do would’ve been to say, ‘No, retouch them, make me look like I don’t have a pore on my face, and I don’t have any armpit stubble, no stubble by the crotch.”

She decided that photos “smoothed to the max” wouldn’t have been true to herself. It’s true that her authenticity and transparency are central to her brand; Earle has shared honest recounts of her life in college as well as photos of her acne.

In her Sports Illustrated interview, Earle said that posting unfiltered photos of her acne was “very, very scary” at first. “But immediately the response I was getting was girls saying, ‘Thank you for this,’ or, ‘This is helping me so much,’ or, ‘This is so nice to see real skin…’” she said. “That was really a catapult for me to realizing how important it is to share everything about you and not just only the good, highlighted, perfect parts.”

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