Being beautiful? Must be hell
@jo_elvin @jo_elvin firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t stop thinking about the 90s supermodel Linda Evangelista – we’ve all seen the recent headlines. She took to Instagram to explain why peers like Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Claudia Schiffer have enjoyed a renaissance in their 50s while she’s been glaringly absent from catwalks and photo shoots. The reason? She no longer looks like her 20-something self, which is hardly shocking, really. But she says she has been ‘brutally disfigured’ by a ‘fat-freezing’ cosmetic treatment that she alleges went horribly wrong. As a woman whose face was literally her fortune (the famous ‘I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day’ quote was hers), she has been left profoundly depressed by this turn of events and as a result largely hidden herself from public view in the past few years. The whole situation confirmed something that I’ve believed for a long time: sure, it must be nice to be regarded as a great beauty but, in the long run, we average-lookers have a happier time of it. I do not agree with Linda that she now looks hideous. But I guess when your beauty is the very thing that has opened every door in your life and been your most lucrative asset, it must be truly devastating to lose it. Then there’s the rest of us: neither breathtakingly gorgeous nor unspeakably ugly. A solid six out of ten on most days. When you’ve never entered a room and rendered everyone silent with wonderstruck awe at the sight of you (unless you count the time I had just split my chin open on the road outside), the ageing process is a bit easier to bear. Am I thrilled with the deepening lines around my mouth or the slack hoods encroaching on my eyelids? Not really, no. But nor do I feel the need to hide my haggard visage from polite society. I’ve earned this face – the best and the worst of it. I feel as though there’s a quiet revolution afoot in the way women over 50 are being viewed in society because we are changing the way we regard ourselves. Our story on page 28 examines how older women are very much ‘on trend’ right now. An incredible specimen such as Jennifer Lopez, 52, does tend to inspire envy for simply looking better than a lot of women half her age. But the current celebration of older women, and the redefining of what it means to be one, is far from skin deep. Every single woman living a confident, full life and refusing to just sit on the chintz sofa trying not to make too much noise is to be celebrated. We’ve never in history had more agency over our money, our careers and what we project to the world. The longer we live, the more we come to understand that there are much worse things to lose than our looks. Let’s enjoy as much of it as we can.