Being in the advertising world, I know what goes into creating the perfect beauty ad.  The product and its various benefits must be highlighted.  And, of course, the model must look AMAZING.  With the exception of Make-up Foreover‘s new campaign that asserts that the models’ photographs weren’t re-touched, all beauty pics are heavily manipulated.  If anyone’s see the hugely popular Dove video, you get the picture.  The model — a beauty to begin with, is shot under the best light, in the best angle and in a perfect pose.  And then the pic itself is cropped, photoshopped, re-colored, etc.
I’ve never really thought twice about it.
Until it was me.  Until it was my face was being made-up, shifted, re-colored and cropped.
My “photo shoot” generated many shots, most of which sucked (my, not my wonderful photographer’s, fault).  A few were salvageable but needed some work.  After my friend sent them over to me, I started playing around with them myself.  Changing the angle, colors, cropping here and there.  It was kinda fun, in an art project kind of way.
When I took a step back and looked at the photos, I saw myself.  But in a way I didn’t.
Coincidentally, I just got the iPad 2 and downloaded the mirror app that lets you see a picture of yourself the way others see you.  In other words, you don’t see the angle of yourself normally reflected in the mirror but the angle that someone looking at you would see.  To be honest, I still look the same, just myself from a different side.
But there’s a deeper significance here.  The mirror reminds us we have our own sense of how we look, but others may see us differently.  Do people see me as I am today with my glasses on and hair up in a clip or do they see me as my photo shots — more, vavoom — are?  Who is the real me?
Maybe it doesn’t matter.  There’s no way we can dictate how others are going to process our appearance.  We should just try to look the best we can and enjoy the experience.

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