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Kerry Washington talks Adweek cover scandal on TODAY: 'It felt altered'

Kerry Washington is the leading lady of the prime-time hit "Scandal," the main focus in HBO's political drama "Confirmation" and the star on this week's cover of Adweek. And one of those roles has caused quite a controversy — with the actress herself.

During a Friday visit to TODAY, Washington spoke to Matt Lauer about the magazine cover that left her unable to recognize her own photo.

"My big complaint was that it felt altered — in general," she said of the image. "It wasn't that there was something specific. It was the feeling of looking at something and knowing that it had been altered."

And seeing a face she didn't know on the cover was particularly upsetting considering what was inside the magazine.

MORE: Kerry Washington has amazing advice for her 18-year-old self

"I was really proud of the interview and really proud of the article," Washington said. "It talks a lot about my business relationships and how hard I've worked to build those relationships with those brands. I was really excited about the article. [But] when I saw the cover, I was taken aback."

So...You know me. I'm not one to be quiet about a magazine cover. I always celebrate it when a respected publication invites me to grace their pages. It's an honor. And a privilege. And ADWEEK is no exception. I love ADWEEK. It's a publication I appreciate. And learn from. I've long followed them on Twitter. And when they invited me to do a cover, I was excited and thrilled. And the truth is, I'm still excited. I'm proud of the article. And I like some of the inside images a great deal. But, I have to be honest...I was taken aback by the cover. Look, I'm no stranger to Photoshopping. It happens a lot. In a way, we have become a society of picture adjusters - who doesn't love a filter?!? And I don't always take these adjustments to task but I have had the opportunity to address the impact of my altered image in the past and I think it's a valuable conversation. Yesterday, however, I just felt weary. It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It's an unfortunate feeling. That being said. You all have been very kind and supportive. Also, as I've said, I'm very proud of the article. There are a few things we discussed in the interview that were left out. Things that are important to me (like: the importance of strong professional support and my awesome professional team) and I've been thinking about how to discuss those things with anyone who is interested, in an alternate forum. But until then...Grab this week's ADWEEK. Read it. I hope you enjoy it. And thank you for being patient with me while I figured out how to post this in a way that felt both celebratory and honest. XOXOXOX

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In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Washington noted that it "felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It's an unfortunate feeling."

And as she explained on TODAY, it wasn't a feeling she could ignore.


"I just felt like, in order for me to promote the magazine — which I wanted to do because I think the article's great — I had to at least address [it], cause I knew other people would notice it did not look like me," she said.

MORE: Kerry Washington says she didn't recognize herself in Photoshopped Adweek cover

After she first spoke out about it, Adweek's editorial director James Cooper acknowledged that the cover shot had been tweaked — but only mentioned an alteration to her hairstyle.

Later, in a response to a fan of the actress, Cooper added, "In our effort to celebrate her we went too far."

During his Friday chat with Washington, Lauer pointed that there are times when a little photo fix isn't unwelcome.


"When they airbrush me in pictures, I'm all for it!" he joked.

"It's not always bad," Washington agreed. "A wrinkle here, a wrinkle there ... [but] it should still look like the person."

And just so she's not misunderstood, she added with a laugh," I meant wrinkles on clothes, by the way. Wrinkles on faces are beautiful."

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