Kelly Clarkson has battled weight ups and downs for years, but on the cover of September's SELF magazine, she looks slimmer than ever.
That's because she's been photoshopped, and the magazine's not afraid to admit it.
"Yes, of course we do post-production corrections on our images," SELF editor in chief Lucy Danziger told "Entertainment Tonight." "Kelly Clarkson exudes confidence, and is a great role model for women of all sizes and stages of their life. She works out and is strong and healthy, and our picture shows her confidence and beauty. She literally glows from within. That is the feeling we'd all want to have. We love this cover and we love Kelly Clarkson."
In the past, the "American Idol" winner has raved about the photoshop jobs done on her album covers. She still seems comfortable in her own skin, digitally retouched and in real life.
"My happy weight changes," Clarkson says in the September issue of SELF. "Sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more. I'll be different sizes all the time. When people talk about my weight, I'm like, 'You seem to have a problem with it; I don't. I'm fine!' I've never felt uncomfortable on the red carpet or anything."
Photographers, magazines, models and even celebrities have relied on digital trickery for years, but lately, it seems the retoucher's Photoshop tool is being wielded less like a brush and more like a knife, slimming and sculpting stars into shapes that bear fleeting resemblance to their actual bodies.
"The more and more we use this editing, the higher and higher the bar goes. They're creating things that are physically impossible," said Hany Farid, a Dartmouth College professor of computer science who specializes in digital forensics and photo manipulation. "We're seeing really radical digital plastic surgery. It's moving towards the Barbie doll model of what a woman should look like -- big breasts, tiny waist, ridiculously long legs, elongated neck."
Below, more recent instances of seemingly extreme airbrushing.