Vanessa Hudgens is back for another round as the face of Bongo, the casual junior's brand. For the Fall 2014 campaign, the singer, actress, and the long-ago ex of Zac Efron is a blonde, ditching her usually glossy, raven locks and her recently blue hair in favor of golden waves. However, the brand has revealed that the photos have not been and will not be retouched. This is V. Hudge as she is and as she was on set that day. No Photoshop trickery. No creative editing. Just a really gorgeous starlet in some trendy clothes, which are available at Kmart and Sears. Who knew Bongo's wares could be this cute? I am going to have to shop the racks next time I hit either store for some small kitchen appliances.
The fact that Bongo opted to forgo any photo freshening is admirable and deserving of applause. The "as is" images are meant to inspire girls and to make them understand that perfection is not the norm nor is it that to which they should aspire. Flaws are way more interesting. Really.
Let's be honest, though. Hudgens is a headturner, so she is working with pretty terrific physical attributes and assets to begin with. But most stars in ad campaigns or on magazine covers get a boost from Photoshop and other editing tools, like Lady Gaga for Versace or Lena Dunham on her Vogue cover. No one is as flawless IRL as they appear at these moments.
But The Hudge comes close. Here's to hoping that regular girls don't find further fault with themselves for not having the same natural gifts as Hudgens. That's a stretch, though.
She also has some help from hairstylists, makeup artists, and on-set lighting, but Hudgens sucks you into the vortex of her natural cuteness with this daggers drawn pose in a behind-the-scenes shot. That's some metallic mani!
"This is my second season working with Bongo and it's been such a treat!," Hudgens said. "The clothes really make me feel carefree and confident, which is why I love that the final ad images are unretouched. It’s so important for girls to remember that real beauty shines from within and I’m so proud that Bongo is choosing to send such a positive message with this campaign."
Are the images believably "as is?" Let's take a peek.
Hudgens is a modern Stevie Nicks with the floppy hat and high-waisted, butt-hugging jeans. Everything seems surprisingly normal — no too-thin arms or missing limbs, as other brands have occasionally been known to do.
The actress is bringing back '90s-era, Nirvana x grunge chic with the tied off flannel and boyfriend jeans. I would expect photo editors to nip and tuck her in the hips and in the waist, but they didn't. Her body is presented as normal, like that of the average petite girl. So I am picking up what they are putting down.
The sundress and faux leather jacket combo is aces and again, Hudgens' proportions are real and unedited. If they were going to Photoshop this ad, editors might have done something to shrink her waistline in relation to the belt or they would have wiped out that swath of hair covering her eye. But I like how she is caught in the act of not being photographically perfect. That looks like life to me.
Hudgens' funky print outfit is very working-girl-with-a-cool-job-in-a-big-city and I'd expect her calves to be Photoshopped, due to her ankle booties and skirt cutting off some of her leg's length, but they weren't.
I'll buy it. Vanessa Hudgens is definitely real and relatable in these photos. Big ups to her and Bongo for choosing to highlight authenticity to promote the notion that we are all beautiful. Not to be sappy or anything, but this warms my blackened heart! The clothes are wearable, too. I totally want a few pieces for my wardrobe.