Beyoncé looked glorious on my magazine cover. ‘Are you going to lighten her skin?’ my boss asked

Beyoncé looked glorious on my magazine cover. ‘Are you going to lighten her skin?’ my boss asked

The Guardian

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Being urged to retouch then re-retouch the singer’s photo left Justine Cullen shaken. In this extract from her new book she recalls the ‘cookie cutter’ cycle her industry was trapped in

I stood and knocked tentatively on my publisher’s office door, holding a printout of my latest cover gingerly in my fingertips. The cover I held in my sweaty hands this time was Beyoncé, and she looked … well, she looked like Beyoncé. She looked perfect.

The publisher held the cover in her hands and looked at it approvingly. “It’s wonderful,” she said, nodding. I gave a relieved little sigh and turned to leave the room. But, just as I got to the door, she glanced back up from her computer screen and piped up, nonchalantly, as though having an afterthought: “Are you going to make her skin a little lighter?”

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