For its 25th anniversary issue, the magazine released four covers, each one featuring on a different young starlet. Other spotlighted include Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried and Lauren Conrad.
The other three all appear in full-length poses, while Gabby is shown cropped at mid-chest level, almost as if to hide her full-figured frame.
Elle issued this statement:
Nothing out of the ordinary was done. We have four separate covers this month and Gabby's cover was not retouched any more or less than the others. We had 25 cover-worthy subjects in our portfolio and we chose Gabby because of who she is. We shot this as a story of exuberant young women changing the world. If you take a look at the portfolio, each of the women were shot in different ways and for different reasons.
If you take a look at Gabby's most recent red carpet appearances, it appears as if the magazine didn't lighten her skin.
Elle's editor-in-chief Robbie Myers doesn't believe there's a controversy at all.
Robbie Myers: "It's not a controversy. What's so sad about it is that people have not looked at anything else but this. There's an incredible portfolio inside that Joe [Zee] and Carter [Smith] shot . They haven't looked at it. People want to make something out of nothing. It's sad the legitimate news media picks up on this. It sort of boils down to this. At a photo shoot, in a studio, that is a fashion shoot, that's glamorous, the lighting is different. The photography is different than a red carpet shot from a paparazzi. We absolutely did not lighten her skin. Retouching is when we take a piece of hair and move it out of her eye, so you can't compare a picture on a press line from what you do in a studio, where your job is to make them look beautiful. This is their controversy. We've seen these things before. I am sad that no one has cracked the magazine and looked at it. We gave her a cover, and she loved it."
But, that doesn't hide the fact that Gabby was blatantly cropped on the cover.