Cindy Crawford admits she hated seeing THAT unretouched photo

Earlier this year, an unretouched photo of supermodel Cindy Crawford posing for Marie Claire magazine went viral, appearing on countless websites around the world.

The photo, supposedly a "pre-Photoshop" version of an image that appeared in Marie Claire Latin America's December 2013 issue, was praised by many for showing what a "real" body looks like, even that of a world-famous model.

Now though, Cindy has spoken out about the leaked photo for the first time, and admits she felt "blindsided" by the whole affair.

The 47-year-old model claims the image was digitally manipulated to enhance any normal flaws even further, and that it wasn't an accurate representation of her body. "That picture didn’t reflect what I saw when I looked in the mirror—even in the worst dressing-room lighting," she tells Elle Canada.

"It was stolen and it was malicious."

Despite believing that the image had been altered, Cindy says she felt under pressure to appear unfazed by having her flaws on show to the whole world.

"I was very conflicted, to be honest," she admits. "It put me in a tough spot: I couldn’t come out against it because I’m rejecting all these people who felt good about it, but I also didn’t embrace it because it wasn’t real – and even if it were real, I wouldn’t have wanted it out there."

The mum-of-one adds that the photo definitely put a dent in her confidence. "I know my body, and I know it’s not perfect, but maybe I have a false body image; maybe I think I look better than I do. I think that most women are hard on themselves," she says.

At the time of the image's publication, celebrity photographer John Russo released a statement claiming it was "a fraudulent altered version" of the originally published photo.

While she was far from happy that the image was ever circulated, Cindy says she can understand why so many women took comfort from it.

"Somehow seeing a picture of me was like seeing a chink in the armour. Whether it was real or not isn’t relevant, although it’s relevant to me."

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