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  • Writer's pictureEmilia Hargreaves

Beauty on Social Media

It’s 2019. There are so many people in the world. So you’d think by this point that we’d be a little more accepting of each others bodies. In a time where Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are controlling our lives, surely we can push the body confidence movement a little further.

Yes, we are all different shapes and sizes. Small, tall. Thick, thin. Is this not where our real beauty lies?

It is so difficult, waking up each day and scrolling through thousands of pictures of girls in bikinis and men with six packs at the gym. Have we not reached a point now where we understand that this is not the norm. We don't have airbrushed skin, flat stomachs or effortlessly wavy hair when we wake up in the morning. We don’t wake up with perfectly stencilled eyebrows or shaved legs.

We wake up, as ourselves.

And for me, thats in a funky smelling, oversized t-shirt and a pair of granny pants. Hair sticking out in every direction, eye bogeys and a little bit of dried dribble down the side of my mouth, with morning breath strong enough to kill a man.

This is beauty.

Fresh and raw. Not edited or filtered. Not airbrushed or enhanced.

Just me.

And then I turn on my phone and I see all these Gods and Goddesses and I think, ‘bloody hell, what I’d do to have a bum like that’. Perky and tanned. Long, smooth legs and perfect flowing hair.

But I look in the mirror and cellulite, acne and stretch marks stare back at me.

‘Fuck it, I’m beautiful anyway’ I try and tell myself. But it isn’t always that easy.

Social media has messed with our heads to a point where we risk our lives to look like others. To make ourselves fit in. To make ourselves feel good. And this feeling is only exemplified for women in the arts.

Imagine, day after day, sitting in casting calls surrounded by gorgeous women. Some who look just like you, others who we think are much prettier than us. Endlessly comparing ourselves to the girls sitting on either side of us. Weighing out the pros and cons. Usually, I can't find many pros about me.

I’m constantly switching between two mindsets:

The first, is dwelling in a low point. Self criticising and putting myself down. When I see my own reflection I am filled with anger. ‘Why do I look like this?’. “I wish I looked different’, ‘I wish I was someone else’. All I see are my wonky eyes. My unsymmetrical face. My plump, chubby bottom lip. My unbearably saggy boobs. The list goes on. I know I can't call myself fat. But I am definitely not skinny. I see an alien looking staring back at me.

But then, sometimes, I am lucky enough to have an insane surge of confidence and I tell myself ‘Hey, I am beautiful’. Just because I don't look like all the other girls on Instagram, or the girls I see at auditions, it does not mean that I am not special. I am unique, different, irreplaceable. And nothing will change that.

Here you can see me. No makeup. No eyebrows penciled on, spots out and free. I wouldn't dream of sharing the first three pictures on any form of social media. But hey ho! This is what I look like. Compared to the three pictures below. Eyebrows nicely filled in and actually looking surprisingly even. Eyelashes curled and hoisted up with mascara. Lipstick on and ready for any pictures that could possibly be taken of me to go online. Before starting this blog, these pictures would never have seen the light of day. But now, I am learning to love myself without makeup. With all my flaws on show.

Even if I’m stuck in a hot and sweaty casting call room, with a thousand girls who have brown hair and brown eyes. No one is the same as me. And that will never change.

I have had so many experiences where I have been made to feel that I will never get anywhere in this industry because of the way that I look.

Being a 5’’10 ballerina with HH cup boobs and not fitting into a size 8 leotard apparently isn’t a compatible combination.

I was told by a teacher that I was an “annomolie” and that I “don't fit in anywhere” because wherever I was placed in a routine, I would just “stick out”.

Spending a year at drama school and never being offered a lead. Being constantly pushed to the back because I wasn’t small and petite like every other girl in my class.

Continually being cast as a man. Never the heroine or the leading lady. Just the dad or the drunk. Never the damsel in distress or the beautiful, fierce queen.

Just shoved to the back where no one could see me.

I mean, probably for the best at this point, I guess?

Sitting on set at 4 am in the morning, going through hours of hair and makeup only to be told “You’re a lot bustier than we’d expected, so unfortunately we won’t be able to use you”

Dance routines and chorus numbers, always back row left corner.

Honestly, I think it will stay this way until the world wakes up and realises that this industry needs to change. Casting directors need to rethink their choices. They sending out the wrong messages now. Hyping up the idea of the ‘perfect’ woman. We need to be more diverse. As a collective, in such a powerful profession, we need to disregard the ‘rules’. Females with acne, stretch marks and disabilities need to be brought forward and into the splendour of the spotlight. We need to involve more women of colour, different races, sexualities, ages, genders, cultures. Women who look different from the stereotypical idea of ‘beauty’ that has been installed into our brains, because yes, we exist.

And this way, we can make the arts even more powerful than it already is.

Teaching boys and girls that we don't have to look like, act like, or live like the people that we see on social media. That it is more than okay for us to be ourselves. To wear what we want. To love who we want. To be bigger than a size 8!

The way that this industry thinks needs to change. That way we can learn to love ourselves, the way that we should.

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