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Mirror Mirror on the Wall. Who is the Fairest of Them All?

Ever look in the mirror and think to yourself...

“Who is this person?” Who is it that you’re looking at right now, is it a reflection of yourself, an aura, a fabrication, an exact replica? The mirror becomes your second home. If you’re not eating, sleeping or being dolled up or down by the hoards of make up artists that flutter like flocks of exasperated birds in and out of studio trailers, you’re looking in the mirror. It is your go-to object, your first and last resort. It shows you your image, your strengths and your weaknesses. Your so-called beauty. You see, that’s the thing, the mirror does not censor or edit or lie. What you see is what your get, as the saying goes, and there are no alterations. It is not like a photograph, like the ones you see those cameramen filtering away into oblivion.

That girl you’re looking at, on the cover of Vogue… that’s not you. That’s an airbrushed, retouched, contrasted, saturated, discolored, stretched out and then tucked in modification of who you used to be. Who you used to see in the mirror. Now all you see is what needs fixing, what needs adjusting and fiddling with until there is nothing left to critique.

Kate Moss by Mario Testino

Kate Moss by Mario Testino

You are a model, not some regular girl wearing size 12 jeans and an Abercrombie hoodie. You are a model, not a college student, or a teacher or a doctor. You are a model... and that means you have to be perfect. You have to be on-point and flawless and thin. Oh how you will come to hate that f*cking word. You will eventually stop eating all the things that you love because they make you gain quarters of pounds that prevent you from fitting into impossibly tight ensembles designed by irrational human beings.

As a model, your body is your temple but not in that airy-fairy Holy sense. It is your greatest asset; you must look after it and train relentless. The pain will bring you down; take its toll on you at times. You will find yourself forcefully throwing up once or twice after a few too many French fries, can’t have that in your body; that leads to fat. You are a model; you cannot have a huge ass or tiny boobs. You need to be the template of ideal beauty not the everyday girl. But at the same time you need to look different, you need that air of Je ne sais quoi. You are both the exception and the rule, a paradoxical being. That bullshit they feed you at the beginning about plus size modeling being an eventual option, that’s exactly what it is… bullshit. Just another way for the industry to hide how sick and twisted their minds really are, the fact is that they truly do believe that some people are more beautiful than others and that eternal beauty does not exist. Past a certain age, after a certain moment, beyond a certain campaign you fade into the background.

You become what is referred to as just another pretty face, a has-been, a poster on a 15 year old boys bedroom wall long after he moves out and moves on. A memory essentially, of a girl who used to be referred to as the most breathtaking beauty there ever was. The sad truth is that you are either made for this or you’re not, if however you find that you are; that realization in itself will soon become your worst nightmare.

Twiggy by Barry Lategan

Twiggy by Barry Lategan

Your eyes. That’s what people see first. A teaser, if you will, for the visual sensations that await. As for you, your eyes always were and always will be your best feature, they are the largest and darkest deep brown eyes you have ever seen. Wide and oval shaped they frame your face; they look as though they have seen centuries of life, of happiness and sadness, success and failure, darkness and light. They are expressive and moving, the kind of eyes you never forget… not ever. Or at least that’s how you heard her describe them once, the agent on the panel at your first audition.

The other girls would stare at you, try and unveil the depths of your mind and your heart and your soul from those eyes. They would look into them day after day, wondering how they were so big and so brown and so deep. Those eyes were set on a snow-white porcelain face, dazzling the soft brown freckles that danced across it. From your left cheek, up your nose, across your right cheek and back again. The other models were envious of the comments you got, the praise and the compliments and the worship you felt. You always knew that, you could feel their jealousy, their anger and greed. That first audition launched you into a world you never thought existed, a world of fashion, money, fame and fortune. A world of beautiful people and immense competition. A dog-eat-dog world.

Alice in Wonder;and by Annie Leibovitz

Alice in Wonder;and by Annie Leibovitz

It wasn’t just your eyes though. Your lips as well, small yet plump and heart-shaped, permanently stained in a ravishing shade of pinkish-red. They are irresistible. You speak slowly, knowing the impact they have on others. They are distracting and mesmerizing. Men are flustered around you, unsure of where to look and for how long. Do they stare at the movement of your mouth, or that blinding passion that emanates from your pupils? Endless and threatening like black holes, they draw you in. Your face is hypnotizing, you get that… your beauty is not the kind you come across often. It’s unique and unfathomable, but what happens when your beauty begins to fade?

The worst thing in life is to know that the prospects of your future lie not in the agility of your mind, or the bravery in your heart but in the maintenance of your looks. It puts you under a microscope; you realize that one day you will expire and the next product will be better and there will be nothing you can do about it. It’s a natural process. One that will destroy you.

Your beauty is both a blessing and a curse. You suppose the only permanent gratitude that you can extract from it is the sense that it is indeed inherited. Your mother always said that even Rapunzel could not compete with your thick auburn locks, even Rapunzel would be jealous. You are not a blonde, or a red head or a brunette. Your hair color is a mixture of all three, a hue of its own. Growing out naturally, flowing down to the small of your back in voluptuous waves that shape and form themselves around one another. Your hair is a gift from your grandmother, photographs of her as a young woman show a spitting image of you, with certain alterations. She was a classic beauty, you are not. You are different, more intense, more quirky and strange. You have your father’s eyes and your mother’s lips and between the two, you inherited a look that is indisputably high fashion. Or at least that’s what your manager always said. You could be made to look preppy or punk, boho-chic or futuristic, trashy or sophisticated. Your look was cool, your look is cool, your look will always be cool… until the next girl.

Any photographer when looking at a model’s face has two choice words. Bone. And Structure. Your bone structure. Of course to most of you this is just non-sense, but to photographers it is everything. How angular is your jaw, how prominent are your cheekbones, how wide is your forehead compared to how long your chin is. Your bone structure needs to be almost mathematically correct. No excuses. Luckily, you always knew that you had what it takes. Your jaw could cut diamonds, and your cheekbones form small mountains on either side of your face. Covered in glittering shades of pink blush and bronzer. Photographers look at each aspect of your bone structure and analyze how it will reflect the light and shadows in a picture.

They do this as you stand there and watch, like some life size figurine or mannequin with no emotions or opinions to share. To be fair you have no right to complain, you chose this path and you knew what the job entailed. Despite this fact, in those moments when a make-up artist or two or even three are poking at your face to check how highly set your cheeks are compared to your jaw. You feel like an object, not a person…and that feeling sucks.

Regardless of what you say about it, and after all this time, modeling is the only thing that ever gave you a sense of genuine satisfaction and accomplishment. The most profound high; better than any drink or any drug. It made you feel as though you were on top of the world, walking down that runway with all the lights and cameras and people staring at you. Amazed by your magnificence and poise and splendor, in that inkling you feel like you are an infinite being. An immortal vampire whose beauty will live on and resonate in the minds of people around the world for years, decades or even centuries to come.

You are the center of attention, as you walk out in that flowing cream-colored wedding gown to close the show. A tiara braided neatly into the center of your coif, the arena around you is spectacular. No one can touch you then, no one can call you ugly or fat or shallow, you are an image of perfection. And in that instant, in that exact moment, even a mirror would not be able to show you otherwise.

This is an original story.

People will stare. make it worth their while.
— Harry Winston
Lana + Crosleys

Lana + Crosleys

From Florence to Cairo: Amr Saad's Eccentric Approach to Jewelry Design

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