‘I feel like I’m part of the problem’: Hollywood special effects artist speaks out on requests he gets to change women’s bodies
A special effects artist has revealed the extent of editing that takes place on women’s bodies in film and TV.
Sevan Najarian, who is interviewed in the new BBC documentary Sex on Screen, said that “most people on TV and film” get “beauty work” done to remove blemishes, freckles, wrinkles and pubic hair, and to have their bodies slimmed down.
He said that producers will often ask for women in their projects to be made to look younger, explaining that he does a lot of “cleaning up bags under the eyes and neck wrinkles”.
“There was a request that came from a client for me to remove a postnatal belly because this actor had just given birth,” Najarian said. “So that was a matter of taking her body, cutting it out, squeezing it and putting it right back in, and cleaning out the background wherever her belly would have been.”
In the documentary, clips are shown of Najarian scrubbing inches off a woman’s waist in a sex scene.
He continued: “Actors and actresses buy into it and ask for it because they believe this is important and needed, and that we need to portray our best selves. That we should all be looking like china dolls and all have flawless faces.
“I don’t respond to ultra beauty in my life. I like flaws and I like to see natural people, so [with my work] I feel like I’m part of the problem, instead of the solution.”
The documentary, out now on iPlayer, explores the process of creating sex scenes in Hollywood, the toll on those involved in filming them, and the impact such images have on women and girls in the real world.
The film features candid interviews with actors and creators, including Jane Fonda, Rosanna Arquette, and Rose McGowan, among many others.