French senatorial hopeful admits digitally tweaking campaign photo

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A French politician has been criticised for “misleading” voters by using digital enhancements to give her a youthful glow in campaign posters.

Juliette de Causans, who is running as a candidate in France’s senatorial elections this month, was pictured in recent posters sporting a more Hollywood image compared to her normal appearance.

Ms De Causans is in her 40s but has not given her exact age. In a poster from March this year, she could plausibly pass off as someone in her mid-20s: her skin noticeably brighter, teeth straighter and hair more luscious compared to what appear to be unedited photos of her on Instagram.

A member of a small centre party called Europe Ecologie Egalite, she has admitted to enhancing her look with the age of digital wizardry, saying it is more likely to boost her party’s cause of supporting Europe and the environment.

For a poster of her running in parliamentary elections in June last year, Ms De Causans said she used digital tools to give her a tan. In her March poster, however, the use of digital retouching is noticeably heavier.

‘You are misleading voters’

Voters have taken to social media to criticise Ms De Causans as being disingenuous.

“You are misleading voters with your campaign photo. It’s pathetic, I’m not voting for you anymore. Return to the Ardennes we deserve better,” wrote one on her Instagram account.

Another said: “Indeed, you look nothing like your campaign photo, you start directly with lies, it’s beautiful.”

Ms De Causans entered politics in 2021 after working as a secondary school teacher. She stood to become an MP in the Ardennes but gained only 4.28 per cent of votes in the 2022 legislative elections.

Her party is made up of breakaway supporters of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party, who continue to support him but lack the backing of the Macron camp.

Defending her use of retouched images, Ms De Causans has said: “It’s my right as a candidate to have a beautiful photo. Hair, makeup and lighting, it’s not the same thing.”

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