cindy crawford
Photo: Getty

Last February, an “unretouched” photo from Cindy Crawford‘s cover shoot for Marie Claire Mexico went viral after being leaked. Stolen from photographer John Russo, the image​ was digitally altered to add cellulite to Crawford’s body, thus “empowering” real women. The only problem with this female empowerment was that it wasn’t the real body of the iconic ’90s supermodel, creating an awkward situation for Crawford to deal with. Now, for the first time, the Crawford is breaking her silence on the photo, which she calls “stolen and malicious” in a new interview with Elle Canada.

It put me in a tough spot: 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. I felt really manipulated and conflicted, so I kept my mouth shut,”​ Crawford revealed. 

Instead, Crawford used the experience as a learning lesson for her 13-year-old doppelgänger daughter Kaia Gerber, who made her debut to the fashion industry this summer after signing with IMG Models, “I’m a big girl and I can handle it, 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. How do I rise above the situation? What do I do? Go on Good Morning America and pull up my shirt and say ‘I don’t look like that’? That didn’t seem like the right response.”

And with a life lesson like that, we’re sure Kaia Gerber’s modelling career is in good hands with the guidance of her supermodel mom.

Is your mama a llama? Love flipping through our pictures from Peru! Great trip with @omega and @orbisintl…

A photo posted by Cindy Crawford (@cindycrawford) on