Keira Knightley, the English actress best known for her roles in period costume dramas, insisted on being show “all natural” in a topless magazine pose and revealed she has uneven, or asymmetrical breasts.
Although the condition is common, it’s rarely seen in fashion magazines, because breasts are almost always digitally altered to make them look the same.
Knightley says in a new interview it’s a common occurrence. “I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters,” she explains.
But when Interview magazine asked her to pose topless for its September issue, she agreed on one condition.
“I said, ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are,” Knightley told The Sunday Times of London.
Knightley was speaking for countless women who have asymmetrical breasts, where one is larger or shaped differently than the other.
A website is even dedicated to the condition, unevenbreasts.com.
Jennifer Lawrence is another high-profile actress who has openly discussed her uneven breasts. Lawrence said she noticed the difference herself and couldn’t help bringing up the subject during a doctor’s visit.
“I was like standing there with these doctors and they’re like looking at my lungs and I just couldn’t… it felt like an elephant in the room. And I was like, ‘Are my breasts uneven?’” she recounted in an interview last year.
Asymmetry can be barely perceptible, or one boob can be half-again as large as its companion. The reasons vary.
Usually the breast on the side of the dominant hand will be slightly larger, according to Celebrity Health & Fitness. Body misalignment is also a cause, according to medical references. In rare cases, asymmetry can signal cysts or tumors.
Other than that, it’s perfectly natural, although you wouldn’t know it by reading most fashion magazines, which typically airbrush imperfections.
“I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame,” says Knightley. “Our society is so photographic now, it becomes more difficult to see all of those different varieties of shape.”
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