Cindy Crawford on her fake 'unretouched' photo: 'I felt really manipulated'

Cindy Crawford is finally speaking out about her fake 'unretouched' photo incident that went viral. The 49-year-old supermodel admitted that staying silent was her best option. "I felt really manipulated and conflicted, so I kept my mouth shut," she told Elle Canada about the photo that surfaced last February and sent the media and fans in a frenzy.

Cindy appears in Elle Canada's October issue Photo: Instagram/@cindycrawford

“I don’t try to present myself as perfect.," she continued. "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."

In a quiet response to the photo, the supermodel posted a picture on her Instagram laying on the beach in a bikini. Despite her feelings about the picture, she explained that she understood the positive reaction that it received from some women. "Sometimes, the images that women see in magazines make them feel inferior, even though the intention is never to make anyone feel less. So somehow seeing a picture of me was like seeing a chink in the armour."

The brunette beauty added: "I felt blindsided. I was very conflicted, to be honest. The story had run a year and a half before, and the picture of me in that outfit was from the bust up. 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."

Cindy said she felt "manipulated" by the images Photo: Getty Images

Like any other woman, Cindy admits that she was a little hard on herself when the images were released. "I think that most women are hard on themselves. We think we look worse than we do," she said. "So I assumed I fell into that category, even though that picture didn't reflect what I saw when I looked in the mirror, even in the worst dressing-room lighting."

Cindy went on to describe the incident as "social bullying" and revealed her children's, Presley, 16 and Kaia, 13, reactions to the situation. "I'm a big girl and I can handle it," she shared. "But I used it as a teaching lesson for my own daughter because my kids were like 'Mom, you don't look like that!' They wanted me to go down to the beach in a swimsuit so the paparazzi would take a photo of me, but that would be playing into it."

Cindy will appear on the cover of Elle Canada's October issue and will release her new book Becoming Cindy later this year.

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