Am I Pretty Enough?

My job was to sit quietly and let the potions do their magic, while makeup artist Jennifer Snowdon applied and explained the product line.

“Mature Makeup Redefined” is the tagline for Alchimie Forever—a skincare line used as basis for glowing makeup application. I modeled for them at The Brand Summit, presented by The Powder Group.

As Jennifer illustrated how high-definition film makeup—where you can see every pore, crease and crevice of the skin magnified—was the perfect cosmetic segue to aging with beauty. I suddenly realized, I was the there-said “aging beauty!”

There I sat with hair pulled back un-styled, wearing an un-stylish spandex tee shirt, no makeup stylizing my appearance, just plain ole me. The previous broadcast was a drag queen applying a mega-stylized makeup look! I paled in comparison!!

I suddenly felt naked on the screen.

Every time Jennifer’s hands left my face, her presence left the screen leaving me there alone. Without the permission to ask questions, share my knowledge of herbal nutrients mentioned, or just be witty, I felt powerless to fill the uncomfortable void I found myself in.

Am I pretty enough to be paid to model at a beauty summit?
Do I belong in this chair?

Belonging in this particular case meant being pretty. In other settings, it could mean being smart enough, skilled enough, loving enough, to belong. And, as we have all experienced, at one time or another, the absence of belonging ignites an upswell of shame.

A shame that dictates what you should-be.

As I sat with my nakedness reflected back at me, I saw a lonely innocence. Like a puppy at the pound begging to be chosen. So, I decided to choose the little-girl who needed me, rather than the big-girl who was judging me.

A curiosity about what each potion was doing to my skin began to override my “pretty enough” worries. I’d lean into the camera so I could see my skin subtly soften. Every pore, crease and crevice was waking up.

What I could-be began to override what I should-be.

My awake-ness felt more than skin deep. The shame my judgments had triggered were softening. I gave myself permission to be, see, and free myself, from myself. This freedom was different than broadcasting who I wished to be, as in a make-over. But rather, to be plain ole me.

What I began to notice was, plain ole me, when engaged, interested and playful, was more than pretty enough. She sparkled with a joie du vivre that was alluring, slightly mysterious, and a whole lot lovable.

My little double chin, quirky nose and character lines (such a better word than wrinkles) paled to the inner vibrancy that was allowed to surface. The camera doesn’t lie, beauty truly is more than skin deep.

Jennifer always says it, and broadcasts it, as her tagline: Make It Up True!

The transformation I made in that chair went from trying to look beautiful to being beauty. And in the doing, I redefined beauty to include me.