Meghan Markle Is On The Cover Of Elle France Without Her Freckles

In a weird twist, the magazine is running a photo from 2015 that appears to already have been photoshopped.

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At first glance, it looks like Elle France scored a major cover — Meghan Markle, actress, humanitarian and future wife to Prince Harry, graces the cover of the December 1 weekly issue in a chambray shirt and white eyelet skirt. My first thought was “Wow, quite a coup,” considering how in demand the former Suits star is. My second was how we rarely see her hair pulled back from her beautiful face. And my third: Where the hell did her freckles go?

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It’s always disappointing to see someone’s unique features edited into oblivion, but it’s especially infuriating when the person has been actively vocal about said feature, particularly when it’s a defining part of their culture identity. In an April interview with Allure about being a biracial woman in Hollywood, she said, “To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot.”

In a strange twist, it turns out these images are not even new. The pics were from a 2015 shoot with an Australian magazine called Gritty Pretty and, it seems, the freckles were already nowhere to be found in those shots, too. So while it appears it wasn’t Elle France’s call to wipe her face of her lovely freckles, they did choose to purchase old pictures in what I can only assume is a magazine-selling cash grab — and in the process, perpetuate an inauthentic image of the future royal.

I can’t imagine Markle would be thrilled about the freckle-free photo making its way onto another cover. In that same interview with Allure, she offered words of encouragement: “For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: ‘A face without freckles is a night without stars.’”