Jill Layton
January 07, 2015 8:45 am

It’s not a fun thing to admit, but we’ve all (at least once a thousand times) looked at pictures of celebrities all glammed up, and felt a pang of jealously. We’ve talked before about how harmful these unrealistic and envy-making images can be, and how the saturation of movies, TV shows, magazines, and billboards in our lives are really good at making celebrities look unbelievably perfect (and damaging global self-esteem in the process). The absolutely essential word to keep in mind here is “unbelievably.”

The images of celebrities often seem unbelievable because they are. Everything about them seems unattainable — their bodies, skin, hair, makeup — because it is. It’s not real, it’s a construction and a production. At this point in our transparent and technologically savvy lives, we’ve all likely figured out that most of the time, this perfection is thanks to teams of hair and makeup people, professional lighting, and Photoshop. But what most of us haven’t realized is that we can look like that too — if we want to, and have the money to burn.

Photographer Benjamin Von Wong went on a mission to prove that and show just how much goes into making celebrities look superhuman — and how we all have that superhuman quality within us, it just needs to be captured just right. Von Wong took a bunch of everyday people and turned them into fitness models for his series “Ordinary People, Hollywood Budgets.” His subjects never took a modeling class (I’m assuming that’s how models learn how to model, right?), and they don’t spend excessive amounts of time working out — they’re just regular folk. The photographic results? Stunning and believable.

Over at Medium, Von Wong explained his purpose behind the project:

“People often look up to the superstars in magazines, marveling at how amazing they look without realizing that they too can look the same. Armed with $20,000 of lighting equipment and a homemade rain machine, I wanted to prove to them how amazing they looked, straight out of camera.”

Check out the incredible photos (courtesy of Von Wong). Some of the before and after glimpses are pretty phenom:

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