What's most notable about the changes to this image of SJP is the Photoshopping of her hands, which are rather famously wrinkly.
Articles, usually quite nasty ones, are written about the appearance of her hands, which, perhaps because I am the proud bearer of excessively lined hands myself, I happen to find quite beautiful and remarkable.
If I had to wager a guess, I would imagine that SJP is rather fond of her own hands, as well. Anyone who's watched Sex & the City (which she executive produces) has seen endless close-ups of her hands at her face, brushing aside her hair, or holding a drink. She clutches her hands to her chest excitedly and nervously, a habit that is hers, not just her character's, on display in interviews and in the recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are? in which she traced her ancestry back through American history.
I daresay it was not SJP who wanted her hands Photoshopped to the point of total unrecognizability. I suspect she did not request her hands to be made to look like babydoll hands stuck on the ends of the arms of a confident 45-year-old woman.
My estimation is that Sarah Jessica Parker—smart, talented, personally and professionally successful, legendarily stylish, and uniquely beautiful—still wasn't beautiful enough to grace the cover of Marie Claire with her own body intact.
The editors of Marie Claire may be telling me I should be ashamed of my hands, but I will not be.
By way of reminder: Comments that try to suss out what changes, exactly, were made, and even comments noting that, for example, the removal of laugh lines because they are ZOMG wrinkles actually robs a face of its character or humanity, are welcome. Discussions of how "he looks handsomer/hotter/better in the candid picture" and associated commentary (which would certainly make me feel like shit if I were the person being discussed) are not. So please comment in keeping with the series' intent, implicit in which is the question: If no one can ever be beautiful enough, then to what end is the pursuit of an elusive perfection?
[Impossibly Beautiful: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39.]