Click here to see a slideshow of Nicole Kidman through the years.

Yes, Nicole Kidman is the startup point of my little rant today. How does a stunning curly redhead gets to become a straight haired blonde zombie with collagen injections in her lips (I will not go on the subject of botox)? Her hair has gone so bad that I seriously suspect that even her loose curls are not even natural anymore: they are too perfect and must have been made with a curling iron after flat ironing the whole of her head to death.

Nicole Kidman used to be one of the celebs I would use as an example of “curly isn’t ugly” whenever someone was pestering me on the schoolground. “Well, Nicole Kidman is a successful actress and she is married to Tom Cruise and she is curly.”

She is not the only celebrity to have tried to negate her genetic heritage. Without turning this into a freak show of cosmetic surgery, many people would try to eradicate whatever signs of belonging to an ethnicity they may have. The over the top example of Lil’ Kim with her fake nose, chin, boob implants, blue eyes, lightened skin and honey blonde hair speaks for itself. Did she really think obliterating her “blackness” would make her more successful?

The other example I would think about is Leona Lewis… When she was on the X-Factor (the equivalent of American idol), her hair was dyed blonde but was extremely curly. Now she has gone for a darker shade (great) but her curls have nearly gone. I also suspect she was getting hair extensions at a certain point (the video for Run) because you can only get curly hair that healthy down to a limited length.

The same thing proved true on American Idol (we do have the show in the UK too). Everytime I see a girl with an afro or curls going through to Hollywood, I always tell my husband: “Another one who is going to be forced to wear a wig/ get it relaxed/ get it straightened for the sake of Glamour”. It gets tiresome to be right. I don’t believe straightening your hair makes your voice better… Unless I slept through all my biology classes and that puzzling correlation escaped me.

So my question is this:

Does success go hand in hand with changing what you were born with just to comply to the norm?

This is more of a chicken and egg thing really. Do you become successful thanks to your original looks first and you start changing because you are pressured to fit into a mould to appeal to more people? Or are you pressured into it to keep people talking (same old face/do)?

The only curly haired actress I can think of who has stayed curly is Mary-Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Maid Marian from the 90’s version of Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, the main girl in The Abyss…). Unfortunately, it looks like she is stuck with TV series guest roles now. All the other ones I can think of have sacrificed their manes on the altar of the all winning flat iron. Sad.


… out of celebrities’ body parts?” That was the subject of an interesting article I came across on the second page of Metro, the commuters’ free paper, this morning. It detailed the results of a survey carried out by the Good Surgeon Guide. That same survey was carried out in an effort to promote “good” cosmetic surgery. Well, let’s just say their brainchild seriously backfired on them: most of the body parts the surveyed blokes chose to build their fantasy woman with were all natural! True, the body parts owners were the usual suspects we get bombarded with (Angelina Jolie’s pout, Cameron Diaz’s cheeks, Cheryl Cole’s hair, Kelly Brook’s boobs…) but it goes to show that guys do prefer our natural qualities and assets. On the other side of the coin, they got to make a nightmare woman as well and most of “her” was made of fake body parts (Jordan’s overinflated boobs, Leslie Ash’s trout pout, Jodie Marsh’s weird nose, etc…). All of this certainly gives a slap in the face of cosmetic surgery. There are just some things you cannot fake.

Click here for original article.


Why role “models”?

February 22, 2010

I was always told that the most obvious place to start is the beginning. So here goes: my story is one of a modern day ugly duckling. I was born with a hirsute mass of hair none of the female members of my entourage could make sense of. Different catastrophic attempts at taming it (short, chemically relaxed, blow dried, you name it) led to a few traumatising years of bullying at school. Things did get better eventually by the time I had reached High School when I had mastered the art of making my hair less “obvious”. Other underlying problems such as the majority of women in my family being weight-loss obsessed led me to feel extremely awkward in my own body. I never truly felt at ease with myself until I met my future husband. Fast forward on cue to the few months leading to our wedding and a budding photographer friend of mine offers to do a pre-wedding photoshoot so she can practice with her mentor’s professional equipment. 2 days later I get a call from said mentor who wants to use me as a modern Mona Lisa for one of his projects. That’s how I got sucked into modelling. Somehow, I look straight into the camera and it makes me a “natural”. However, being a geek with a professional career in IT consultancy, having been to university in 2 different countries, speaking 2 languages fluently, I find the word “model” ugly… “Why? It’s not as if beauty was a curse?”, you may ask. Well, simply because it feels as if by being a model, I would only be defined by my looks. When people talk about Claudia Schiffer, do they mention her (potentially) sparkling personality first? I don’t know what kind of person she is, but somehow people tend to think that as long as you are that beautiful, you just cannot be a b*tch… Wrong, wrong, wrong! Anyone remember Naomi Campbell’s mobile phone tantrums? Some people are somehow held on a pedestal just because they were born that good looking and happen to have gazillions of lights, make-up artists, hairdressers and photographers whose sole purpose is to actually make them look good (believe me). It seems nowadays that society has become so image obsessed that the actual underlying core values and beliefs that make us “individuals” have disappeared or plainly ignored. When you hear that most teenage girls nowadays have an eating disorder, are considering surgery, have hang-ups about their bodies, think they have to have fake boobs like those seen in a porno movie to be considered attractive and, worst of all, that 2 thirds of them aspire to be a glamour model, it sends a chill down your spine… What kind of message are the media sending to those girls? That the only aspiration they may have in life is just to be pretty? If you do not look like a page 3 girl, no one will even respect you? How do you get to the point where at 14, you are convinced that the only career you might have will require you to go for multiple boob surgeries, high maintenance make-up/hair/nails and as much fakery as humanly possible just for at most 10 years in that career? Let’s face it: surgery can make you look younger for longer but there comes a time when your skin cannot take it anymore. The best cure is to accept what you look like and make the most of it in the longer term. I aspire to look more like Sophia Loren when I grow old than Pamela Anderson. The whole “You have to be that size, that body shape, that blonde to be even considered worthy of attention” kind of reminds me of the “Sit down, shut up, be pretty and someday you might find yourself a nice enough husband who will take care of you”. It seems like society is erasing all the hard work done by previous generations of women that enabled us to have the freedom to do whatever we wanted with our lives. Going back to teenage girls, the new “ideal” image they get bombarded with must make life hell for them. It was hard enough for me growing up as an awkward teenager and I was a scrawny size 8. I had boys yelling “I’d rather do a goat than doing you even if we were on a deserted island” at me. I guess nowadays, girls must get “Your boobs are saggy, your fanny is sideways, your roots are not dyed and your skin isn’t fake tanned enough”. All of this leads me to the title of this blog. I have learned over the years not to trust, nor hang around the (skin-deep) beautiful people… You can guess I was never allowed into their Parthenon anyway. I sought the company of more mature individuals and tried to find true heroes I could model myself after out there, since it seemed I would never win on the beauty front. I would always make a point to admire someone famous for their achievement in life rather than the lucky draw they got out of the genetic lottery. I was bringing back the rules of what makes a model, more precisely a role model. This gives this blog its title. I will try to describe a new role model each week. The role model in question can be famous but I will also include more down to earth people I only know and admire for their achievements or courage. I might also probably include rants about the “hell” model (people who the media bombards us with, the fake idols if I may say so) and my reactions to the news or other everyday life happenings for as long as they are relevant to this blog. I will try to keep the classical case of narcissism that comes from having your own blog away. After all, this is not about “me” the model, but about the people I admire and get my inspiration from to maybe, one day, become a role model myself.