I had the opportunity to help Orangewood Children’s Foundation with Women Helping Women‘s Belle of the Ball event. An annual event that supplies low-income, at-risk teens and foster youth with no cost pre-prom shopping and image consulting. While attending the event the youth learn at self-empowerment workshops focused on self-image and body awareness. Taught by an organization called Girls, Inc., the workshops were very informative and worth spreading the word about what I learned. You may or may not have noticed there has been a surge of images floating around the internet of celebrities without makeup some of which have been voluntarily uploaded directly.

Lady Gaga

Kim Kardashian


It has been inspired by a movement where women celebrate their natural beauty and bring awareness to the fact that what is being portrayed in the media is not reality. Celebrities do not wake up every morning looking ready for the spotlight. They wake up looking just as normal as you and I. It’s just that most of them have the money to hire a whole team of professionals to help them get ready for the day. Without a team of stylists, it would take the average woman at least 3-4 hours to get ready everyday if you wanted to look ready for a magazine cover shoot. It’s neither cost nor time efficient to do that on a daily basis for us average folks. Therefore, the media’s standard of beauty can be added to the long list of things that separate the masses from the 1% of wealthy Americans. I think there’s something to be said about a celebrity (or anyone) who’s willing to be seen without makeup. It breaks down the facade letting people see the real you and that can be refreshing. After all, we are all human, celebrity or not. I think it’s important to not be so concerned about how you look every minute of the day. I’ve known people who wear makeup to bed or won’t let people come over until they’ve spent a few hours getting ready. For me, I don’t have the time or energy to worry about applying or re-applying makeup just because someone is coming by the house. My husband and I often entertain guests for dinner during the week and more often than not you will find me with no makeup on, my hair a mess, and me in my pj’s. It’s time to stop being ashamed because you feel like you can’t live up to the media’s standards of beauty. I’m a firm believer that everyone should let their natural beauty shine and be proud of it, even if it’s only every now and then. So in celebration of my natural beauty here’s an unedited pic of me with no makeup:

To show you the work involved in creating an ad campaign Dove created a great awareness video taking a model from zero makeup to the image that gets posted up on a billboard in 60 seconds.

The reality is that by the time a model’s image gets posted on an advertisement it’s possible that it could look nothing like her real self. Most people don’t realize how many hours go into making a model ready for an advertising campaign let alone the tedious hours upon hours of post production editing involved.  This satirical video below highlights the common uses of post production editing to mock the media’s unrealistic standard of beauty.

This leads me to two main concerns:

1. Is what you’re seeing what you’re really getting?

More often than not the answer is no. A prime example is the mascara industry’s ads featuring exceptionally long lashes that are obviously either fake adhesives or photoshopped or both. Just last year, this Cover Girl ad of Taylor Swift (below) was pulled due to complaints received by National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of the Better Business Bureau against the manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble. The company willingly took it down due to the complaints.

Taylor Swift Cover Girl ad pulled for being digitally altered to enhance her looks

Europe has already put policies into place to make companies more accountable in their advertising, especially within the beauty industry. I think it’s about time America did the same, don’t you?

2. How is this affecting your body image?

Here’s a staggering statistic I bet you didn’t know: 97% of all media is run by men. Women are being told what beauty is by men. Shouldn’t women be fully capable of doing this for their own gender? At the very least we should even up the playing field by allowing more women to have a say in what is and is not acceptable in main stream media. We are constantly being bombarded with unrealistic views of beauty everywhere we look. Instead of taking it as the norm, it’s imperative that we realize the reality behind the smoke and mirrors of Hollywood’s idea of beauty so we can have confidence in our own self-image. Here are some things you can do to make sure you are not being influenced by main stream media’s view of beauty.

  • Become a media critic. Learn how to tell what’s real and what’s fake. Note the obvious and hidden messages in advertising.
  • Write to magazines and media to let them know you want to see more natural beauty and hold them accountable for extremes in unrealistic beauty.
  • Spread the word. Let’s break the cycle of low-self esteem, especially amongst our youth.

Know that you are unique and beautiful from the inside out. I encourage you to think of 10 things you like about yourself and share the most amazing thing about yourself below in the comments.

A quick reminder: OC Fashion Week is next week! Be sure to purchase your tickets today for the OC Fashion Showcase! Click the pic to go there now!

Got an opinion on today’s topic? Feel free to comment below.


TNT Tauna

04/30/12 **UPDATE**

I just saw this article on Fashionista.com about a 14-year-old 8th grader from Maine who has a petition going asking Seventeen Magazine to post one unaltered “real” photo spread a month!! This is exactly the kind of action I was talking about in this post. Way to go Julia Bluhm!!! Click here to read the article and click here to sign her petition.

07/05/12 ***UPDATE***

Seventeen Magazine has responded to Julia’s petition and committed “not to change the faces or body size of their models, to listen to readers’ feedback and to celebrate beauty in all of its diverse shapes, sizes and colors.” Now a new petition has been created to urge Teen Vogue to do the same. Be sure to head to the petition and sign it now. Go to: http://www.change.org/petitions/teen-vogue-give-us-images-of-real-girls