So, I know this sounds kind of weird, but bear with me.
As a model, sometimes, it’s not ‘cool’ to be pretty. The pretty girls get commercial work and therefore make money, but girls who are described as cool are the ‘weird’ or ‘edgy’ looking girls. It’s common for me to have conversations with models in which we discuss being too commercial or ‘too pretty’ for certain brands we love and want to work with. So it kind of tips a whole outlook on beauty on its head. A lot of the pretty girls want to be weirder, less ‘commercial’, more ‘editorial’. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wish my boobs were smaller, my body was more awkward and angular, my face more androgynous. It made me realise how much beauty really is determined by our environment, the system within which we operate.
I spent 18 years of my life trying to be conventionally ‘pretty’ – big eyes, long eyelashes, no eye bags, nice boobs, smaller circular ears, no pointy corners or gangly awkwardness. Now all of the elements of my body I didn’t like are the ones I’m trying to emphasise to be weirder and get more editorial work. After I left school, my boobs grew, my body took on more of the soft, feminine form that I so longed for, and now I look in the mirror and pray for sharper corners and a flatter chest. It’s kind of hilarious.
Out of the girls in this industry that are being sought after for high fashion brands and artsy editorial, a lot (not all) of them would have been considered ‘awkward’ and ‘weird’ in high school. So, ‘beautiful’, ‘cool’, ‘ugly’ – all these words – are just a figment of our society’s imagination, dictated to us by the simple psychology of what is sought after around us. Remember that today you might not define yourself as beautiful, but tomorrow you could be the next big thing. I think the lesson I’ve taken from this is to never obsess over the standard of beauty that is prescribed to me, because it is not prescribed by me, but an arbitrary set of rules about what’s hot and what’s not. What does that even mean?! We should all have our own standard of beauty, and no matter what that is we shouldn’t let the other girls or the bullies or the modelling agencies or the magazines or the Instagram followers decide that. Screw the system, you’re beautiful!
So maybe I’ll never be one of the cool kids. The universe seems to have a plan for me to avoid that the rest of my life, so I’m chill with being a nerd for now. Because in my head I’m the sickest kid on the block (fully SICK), and that’s by my own standards.
They’re the only ones that matter.
Just after I graduated from high school, I was complaining about the bags under my eyes to a photographer. He said that he liked them. Just those three words, ‘I like them’ were the most shocking thing I’d heard in a while. ‘They make you you. Your face wouldn’t make sense without them.’ It was the first outlook on beauty I’d heard that didn’t comply with the conventional rules by which I had always operated, as well as everyone around me.
Puffy eyes = ugly. Smooth, unmarked skin = pretty.
That’s part of why I’m glad I’ve worked in this industry. It shows you how many different forms of beauty there are, and how truly arbitrary the ‘rules of beauty’ or ‘rules of success’ or rules of anything are. I don’t believe there are rules. Girls who are shorter succeed, girls who have a 37’’ hip succeed, girls who don’t always just do what they’re told succeed. Unless something has been proven by science or a mathematical formula, it isn’t concrete to me. And even then, it’s never the only way to do it. There was a girl in my Specialist Maths class in Year 12 (who is an absolute genius). Most questions we would all do one way, and she would get the answer, but completely by using her own intuition and screwing the formula.
Everyone, scrap the formula because it means diddly. (Thanks for teaching me that Zaz <3)
Let’s just all realise that what we have are gifts and no natural part of us is a mistake. ‘Rejoice in your differences because they’re what make you, you.’ That statement has never made more sense to me.
And that’s what I have to say about that. 🙂