Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Birth of Venus and the Death of Peter Pan

Peter Pan is dead! Long live Venus! I think I may have finally caught up with myself.

Would you like me to expand on the topic?

They say (they who? I don't know: psychologists, people in white coats, scientists) that our self-perception trails our age by some 10 years. Never one to do things by halves, I think mine was trailing by some 25...if not 30! There were lots of clues: dressing like a pixie for starters, minimal make-up whenever I could get away with it, intense dislike of shopping for clothes, use of my higher pitch voice as default, marked preference for pop music aimed at 12 year old girls (Beyonce, Gaga, Shakira, Pussy Cat Dolls...and Britney Spears and everything in between), and a fierce resistance to anything that would label me as officially grown-up: driving the car regularly, allowing myself to be called "Tata" (no not tatas... Tata is the French word for Auntie), voting, and acknowledging an hour glass figure.

But no more! The watershed occurred last Friday.

Last Friday, I had some new headshots done for Spotlight, the casting website. They're pretty ego-bashing and vanity destroying  because in the UK the convention is that they should be unretouched, in black and white and you are expected to wear minimal make-up and look "natural" (the Americans in the Industry kindly refer to it as "the Freak show") Remember that issue of Harper's Bazaar with the supermodels wearing no make-up? Well you get the gist.

The photo shoot in itself is not that challenging. I mean, you can't see yourself! The crunch comes when you get the proofs... and are confronted with some 200 images of your face. And at first you don't recognise yourself (we forget that the right side becomes the left in the mirror...) and then comes the second shock wave: this is how other people see me?


The answer is usually "Yes!". "Yes that is how other people see you. Deal with it."

I like my pictures. They're rather nice. The photographer was lovely and very talented. His name is Vincenzo and I will be posting some of the photos as soon as they come back from the printers so you can judge for yourselves.

But that wasn't my watershed. I am used to having my photo taken. I am used to being filmed wearing no make-up and shot half naked with a wide angle lense... No, my watershed came when I realised looking at those proofs, that I was no longer 10 years old, or 15 or even 25. That I was a grown up woman. All grown up! And that if I didn't start living up to this grown up woman, dressing her like a woman, celebrating her (slender) hourglass figure with dresses and skirts and pretty tops, then I will end up looking like one of those really sad make-over cases that you see on telly. And I really don't want that to happen. I mean, would you?

So I'm making some changes. Considering using one of those personal shoppers/stylists at Selfridges. Making an effort. Wearing nail polish. Smiling at the sound of wolf-whistles. And celebrating all of my grown up birthdays to date in one go!

So it's out with the Covent Garden flower seller in My Fair Lady and in with Breakfast at Tiffany's. Or, I dare you!:  the fountain scene in La Dolce Vita...

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