I was above ground on the F Train the other night attempting to FaceTime with
my mother when a horrible tragedy occurred… I saw my reflection in the camera of
the iPhone beneath overhead subway lighting. ‘Aw, man!’ I thought. ‘And just
after a Pretty Day, too.’ A Pretty Day, for those of you unfamiliar with the
term, is a random day in which for no reason whatsoever, you feel a little
prettier than usual. People are loving your hair, asking you what you did
differently with your make-up. And you haven’t done anything particularly
different. Perhaps you merely added a minute-and-a-half’s worth of extra effort
into your eye shadow application, shaved your legs, used actual lip liner
instead of prayer. And yet there I was suddenly struck with horror in my corner
seat on the subway. What was I looking at? When did my apricot skin go gray?
My eyes, they look so tired and old! Oh blech, my hair didn’t look like THAT
all day, did it? And jowls... Are those jowls??? I was mortified as the Crypt
Keeper seemed to be glaring back at me. But THEN, I remembered a trick I
learned while watching “The Golden Girls.” (Don’t judge me, just read.) I
tipped my head backwards and raised the iPhone above my face so that the light
hit everything at an even angle.
<<GASP>> “I’m a pretty girl, mama!” Yes, all of a sudden, skin
of porcelain and kewpie doll lips graced my facial terrain. Jowls and lines of
fatigue melted away, the faux fur collar of my jacket gently cradled tussles of
auburn curls, and my eyes of blue were poppin’ like the Dickens. ‘Oh, that’s
all it was.’ I thought. ‘I just need to look at myself in the right light.’
The rhythm of the train seemed to slow as my mind pondered this seemingly
magnificent idea further. Was this something that could be put into daily
practice? Sophia Loren was once quoted as saying “Nothing makes a woman more
beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” So where does the gnawing
fear that we’re not beautiful come from, ladies? Magazines? Hollywood?
Other people? The concept of what beauty is has changed drastically over the
course of the centuries, and even differs country by country around the world.
As an actress, I’m conscious of and confused by this varying notion daily as I’m
submitted for projects here in town and around the United States. Sometimes
I’ve been up for the ingénue or beautiful leading lady, and have both been
called back for and booked as such. AND sometimes a casting director
doesn’t want to see me for a role because they’re looking for
beautiful. And ain’t THAT a kick in the pants every time it happens. We cannot
control other people’s perception of “beauty,” nor the fact that it varies
person to person. But when it comes to the perception, can we possibly have
more control over our own?
I have been loosely experimenting with this idea for the last several days,
and there is one general reason behind the moments where I have found success.
In summation, it all boils down to looking at oneself in the right light. I am
not speaking of walking on airs, making out with the bathroom mirror, or playing
“I’m Sexy and I Know It” repeatedly on your iTunes. I am speaking of being
thankful for what I have, and not crucifying myself for things that I cannot
change. I am speaking of taking something you may not like and spinning it into
something you can appreciate. Example: My round cheeks. I would LOVE to have
Hepburn bone structure, and occasionally fear that my “fat face” (deemed “fat”
by myself, of course) swallows my would-be mouth. The SPIN: Said cheeks have
gone through life almost completely clear of acne, people often mistake me for
younger than I am (which will come in handy later on), and my dimples are kind
of adorable. AND, let’s be honest, they’re not the super-sized tomatoes that I
have built them up to be in my head.
See? Just tilt your head back.
That, and when friends or family tell you that you look beautiful, just
believe them. Don't argue, don't dismiss. Just shut up... and believe them.
And be thankful that you have people in your life that love you
enough to tell you so.
Frankie's 457 in Brooklyn, GREAT affordable Italian
HipTix through the Roundabout Theatre Company. If you're 35 or under, check it out!!!
US Airways. Traveling to my mom's for Thanksgiving, I experienced no delays AND.... dare I say... multiple efforts to deliver great customer service. Exsqueeze me??? Thank you for the temporarily restored faith in air travel, US Airways. Speaking of thanksgiving....
Love and warm wishes to you all as you prepare for this holiday season!!!!!!!