A Photoshop too far?

I have no idea if Kim Hopper has had plastic surgery (a topic of hot debate in comments recently) and to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care. I won’t exactly say it’s nobody’s business, since Hopper’s a celebrity in gospel music and like most southern gospel personalities, the Hoppers do ask their fans to invest heavily and personally in the image of the person on stage, and that includes the kinds of aesthetics bound up in plastic surgery. But like I said, I just really don’t care. And anyway, it sounds like Kim Hopper has a lot more serious health issues right now and my good thoughts go out to her.

But if the Hoppers don’t want to have to, as one commenter put it, “come and out correct” erroneous facebook comments that claim Connie Hopper has had plastic surgery, then they might want to rethink some of their media kits. Here’s what  I mean. Below, an image of Connie Hopper and family from one of the images the group has been using for a while now in its publicity.

Now here’s what we might best be called a more candid shot of Connie Hopper from around the same time*:

Mind you, Connie Hopper looks great here and she’s always a class act on stage. But I’ve asked two different people without interest or knowledge of sg in general or Connie Hopper in particular to look at that first picture and tell me how old they think the woman on the right is and one said late 30s, the other said early 40s. And they’re right. I mean, sure, good lighting and makeup can take a few years off but the woman occupying Connie Hopper’s position in that first photo looks like she’s just walked out of consecutive episodes of Nip/Tuck, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, and Queer Eye for the Southern Gospel Grandmother. And a reasonable fan who saw that first image after having seen Connie Hopper in person could, without knowing any better, fairly wonder about plastic surgery.

One final, updated thought: the Hoppers of course are free to do whatever they want in their publicity, and frankly, aside from making them look  a little vain and silly (I agree with this comment, that they all look touched up to varying degrees), this kind of thing is pretty harmless. But more substantively, it might do well for all of us to ask ourselves why it matters so much if Kim Hopper had plastic  surgery, yet we don’t go every man, woman and child to the internet to debate all the bad toupees and Just for Men mustaches out there from Jake Hess and Hovie Lister (and Claude Hopper, perhaps?) on down. No doubt gender bias and body image norms are a big part of it, but we need not conduct a gender studies seminar to note the disparity in the way discussions of male and female celebrity are conducted. From a purely personal perspective in the peanut gallery, I find the ridiculous hair pieces and the hair colors not found in nature that so many men are so badly indulging in (Ron Popeil hair paint, anyone?) to be far more visually off-putting than whatever plastic surgery Kim Hopper or any other woman may or may not have had (here, of course, I’m talking mainly about the sorts of plastic surgery that aren’t obvious to the average observer/fan; those cosmetic augmentations designed to elicit widespread notice are another story entirely).

*In case you want to check my work, here’s the source for the first photo (the Hoppers themselves are still using a version of this photo on their own site) and the second photo. I don’t have exact dates for either image, but they’re within a year or two of one another, at the most, I’d guess.

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  1. Wade wrote:

    Well don’t stop now you got any images of Kim, Taranda and for CVH Suzan???

  2. quartet-man wrote:

    To me, they all look retouched and younger on the CD cover. Connie might have more makeup on in it than the others do too.

  3. Ed Butler wrote:

    The Hoppers sing great and look wonderful. Would it matter if they sang great but did not look wonderful? Hard to say…

    It would be difficult to guess the age of many SG and secular female artists - but we can guess at these two pretty close because of how long they’ve been out on the road. Connie has to be right about 70 and Kim has to be about 45… They both take very good care of themselves.

    Key for me is their concerts have lots of energy. They make it look almost effortless - so their appearance is important.

    Have they had cosmetic work? If you look at their itinerary for the last five years - I can’t imagine where they had the time and then two or three weeks to heal. They’re as busy as any group out there.


  4. DMP wrote:

    I think we should now do a photo lineup to discuss David Phelps’ hair.

  5. Videoguy wrote:

    I thought that was Rebecca Isaacs Bowman standing next to the old guy.

  6. Irishlad wrote:

    #1 Wade bro,Suzan S’s FB page should be all that CVH requires :) BTW the man himself has disappeared off the radar.Come back CVH all is forgiven.

  7. Wade wrote:

    She does have some good picz on her page IrishLaddy!!! CVH is still here just like Joe will always be here just like you and Q-Man. Plus DBM will have a new poll soon!!

  8. Stac wrote:

    Why would you go through all that photoshop trouble for Connie and leave Claude looking 70? It wouldn’t make much sense to me.

  9. Irishlad wrote:

    #7 :)

  10. Charles Brady wrote:

    It’s the water. When I had a glass of tea at the Hoppers I lost 40lb’s and looked 20 years younger. Claude has the fountain of youth over at his place. Same thing happens to artists that record at the Farm studio. Believe what you want but it’s the water at the Hoppers Farm…

  11. MSP wrote:

    I bought their “Unforgettable” project at NQC last year and the group photo in question was/is on the cover. I remember thinking, at the time, that it looked less like a cd cover and more like an advertisment for “Madame Tussauds”. I really think they have a make-up artist with a heavy hand to thank for that.

  12. crazyjoe wrote:

    Slippery slope criticizing Connie Hopper….not a harsh word!

  13. Just Me wrote:

    I think Connie looks amazing. Even if she had plastic surgery.
    Why is it that southern gospel artist are expected to be old fuddy duds?
    If they were main stream country, this would’t even be an issue.
    I can only hope that I look as good as she does in 25 years!!

  14. cynical one wrote:

    I do think the obvious diffence in the 2 pics is the appearance of about 25 pounds and a more modern hairstyle. I’ll bet Connie and John use the same stylist.

    (Reading between the lines totally allowed.)

  15. Mike wrote:

    Who cares! If they want to nip and tuck let them. If they want to photo shop…let them. It’s ultimately NO ONE’S business. Why is this even a topic of discussion?
    Fans seem to think they are owed explanations on the decisions/actions celebrities make.

  16. Nick wrote:

    #15- I totally agree with you. It’s just today’s culture to try to look younger than you really are, and I don’t understand why it’s an issue for SG performers, when no doubt a few of you reading this have had a little something, something done yourself..lol. I mean when you think about it, anybody that puts on makeup or dyes their hair is in the same boat as these celebs, you just haven’t had Botox or other procedures done because you can’t afford it. I believe I said it in another post, if you have something about yourself that bothers you and you have the means to fix it, then more power to you. Have at it!

  17. cynical one wrote:

    The ones who say it’s no big deal, or none of our business are probably right. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it, and make fun of how ridiculous some of them look. The top picture of Connie makes her look a little on the anorexic side. She probably didn’t look like that in real life, when the picture was taken.

    It’s no different that talking about the 80-year-old woman at church who dies her hair jet black. People need to use a little more wisdom concerning what they do for appearance sake.

    Sometimes the “enhancements” just are so extreme they’re stupid. And if someone goes out in public looking stupid (celebrity or not), I’m going to take every opportunity I can to talk about it. That’s what I do. :-)

  18. A Friend Of A Friend wrote:

    If we’re gonna talk about SG performers, can we talk about SG fans? At NQC the last few years, there’s an ole girl who’s hairdo looks like a hornet’s nest. It’s got SO much shellac on it, that if one could bear to touch it, it’d probably break. I mean, it’s NASTY! My friend swears that she saw bugs crawling in it. We sat behind her at one of the showcases just long enough to hear one of our favorite groups. Anyone else see her? Her makeup was rather eccentric, as well.

  19. Wade wrote:

    Cynical & AFOAF…. Yeah… what they said… that is what we do love it… We love Dr DH for allowing us to do it!!

  20. Irishlad wrote:

    It’s pretty obvious Bill Gaither’s had “work” done on his eyes…..Mark too. Not a lot of comment on that.

  21. cynical one wrote:

    AFOAF — I didn’t see that particular gal, but I know what you’re talking about. We’ve noticed the crowd is a little on the dirty side, to a large extent.

    And a little on the large side, to a dirty extent. Love ya’, mean it!

  22. cindytreadway wrote:

    I think they are all vain and insane. I like my kind of job where your makeup melts off and you get soaking wet during the day from rain etc and you look about as ugly as a pit bull who got run over by a wheelbarrow and you get covered by yuck all day. At least you don’t have to spend mega bucks on plastic surgery that makes you look alienesque. I think its INSANE.

  23. KC wrote:

    While I find this torturous from start to finish, I thought y’all might appreciate it. :-)


  24. Wade wrote:

    KC…THANKS for sharing!! LoL ;-)

  25. Whitney wrote:

    Connie just turned 70, and Kim is 43. I’ve been a big fan of the Hoppers for many years now. I’m not a huge fan of the picture in question. It does look photo shopped. I have seen the Hoppers in person recently. Both Connie and Kim look wonderful for their ages. To me, whether they have or haven’t had plastic surgery is irrelevant to me. It doesn’t change who they are or the message they are conveying. Plus, I’m sure 95% of us would have cosmetic work done if we could afford it.

  26. Wade wrote:

    I enjoy watching Kim & Taranda sing the gospel!!

  27. Casual Observer wrote:

    It’s all digital smoke & mirrors - I can get rid of anyone’s wrinkles and make them look flawless in iPhoto or PhotoShop. But in this case, I’d say someone got carried away with the “smudge” tool.

  28. Tonja wrote:

    If they want a nip/tuck, fine, so long as it makes them look better. But, I saw an NQC 2010 photo of Kim on a fb page and I’m sorry, but I thought, “what has she done?”…she was prettier before…she still sounds great though! And that’s what counts right?

    I think the photo above is purely photo shopped, if you watch the Hoppers 2010 on youtube, it’s clear that Connie is still all natu-ral…

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