Vogue Brazil’s Major Photoshop Fail

As the Olympics wrapped up barely a week ago in Brazil, now the host country is preparing for the Paralympics. We’ll start to see promotional ads for this extraordinary event in which those with disabilities will compete for the gold, silver and bronze medals of the Paralympics.

Vogue Brazil announced their collaboration with the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) ambassadors Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena on Friday in a campaign called “We Are All Special Olympics.” Instead of being praised for the collaboration, the magazine has come under fire for a controversial campaign that sees disabilities photoshopped onto able-bodied models in a bid to promote the Paralympics.

#SomosTodosParalímpicos: para atrair visibilidade aos Jogos Paralímpicos e ressaltar a relevância dos paratletas brasileiros no panorama do esporte nacional, @cleopires_oficial e Paulo Vilhena (@vilhenap) aceitaram o convite para serem embaixadores do Comitê Paralímpico Brasileiro e estrelam a campanha Somos Todos Paralímpicos. Concebido pelos atores com o apoio do @ocpboficial e dos atletas, com direção criativa de @ccarneiro, fotografia de @andrepassos e beleza de @carolalmeidaprada, o anúncio traz Cleo na pele de @bruninha_alexandre, paratleta do tênis de mesa, e Paulo, de @renatoleite10, da categoria vôlei sentado. Os ingressos estão à venda em ingressos.rio2016.com. Vogue mostra os bastidores do shooting com o quarteto no link da bio. #voguenasparalimpiadas

A photo posted by Vogue Brasil (@voguebrasil) on

The campaign shows images of them in sportswear against a white background with what appears to be their disabilities in full view.

Instead of using the actual athletes’s who are disabled, the magazine chose to use able-bodied models rather than Brazilian table tennis player Bruninha Alexandre, who had her right arm amputated when she was just 3 months old, and volleyball player Renato Leite, who has a prosthetic leg.

Pessoal, Venho esclarecer que estou super orgulhosa de fazer parte desta campanha que a revista #Vogue começou a divulgar as primeiras imagens desse lindo trabalho. Nossos Embaixadores Paralímpicos Cleo Pires e Paulo Vilhena, nos ajudaram a intensificar e a propagar a campanha com intuito de gerar visibilidade ao Movimento Paralímpico e convocar a torcida brasileira para marcar presença nos Jogos Paralímpicos Rio 2016. Gostaria, de enfatizar que #SomosTodosIguais e por isso a Cleo Pires me representa. Nos próximos dias, vocês terão acesso completo da campanha. #VemComAGenteBrasil e espero contar com toda a torcida brasileira nas arenas é assim torcendo, vibrando, cantando e comemorando conosco! #CarregoNoPeito o #CoraçãoParalímpico. @cleopires_oficial @vilhenap @ocpboficial

A photo posted by Bruninha Alexandre (@bruninha_alexandre) on

The choice of models who are featured in the image has many people outraged online and Natália Belizario, wrote on the website, Lado M“There’s no shortage of disabled people to take the place of spokesperson in these adverts and show society that yes, they exist and they deserve as much space in the media as us,” 

“No, we are not all Paralympians. We still do not understand the reality of people with disabilities.

“We can all be supporters of the Paralympic movement, but it is always good to remember that the role, more than ever, is not ours.”

The art director of Vogue Brasil, Clayton Carneiro stated it was Cleo Pires who came up with the idea and was quoted saying:  “For those who do not know, the idea of the campaign came from the paralympic ambassador, Cleo Pires. We knew it would be a punch in the stomach, but we were there for a good cause, after all, almost no one bought tickets to see the Paralympic Games.”

The question is, does this campaign instill pride or shame of being disabled? You be the judge.


Adrielyn Christi

Senior US Fashion Editor and PR for Trend Prive Magazine. Finding the latest and greatest in fashion and to have the ability to share it with the world is truly my passion.