Tom Ford’s recent comments in V MAN about Gisele and ageing have gotten a lot of criticism from media and bloggers.
“This sounds negative, but when you’re considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, it’s very, very hard when that starts to slip away. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when people react to you differently. And, Gisele, I hope you’re not reading this, because it’s going to sound so negative but I know through some of my best friends who are really famous actresses–I’m not going to mention their names–who were at one point considered to be among the most beautiful women in the world at different periods of time, and how hard it is for them emotionally. So I hope Gisele is prepared for that, because it’s so difficult.” (Tom Ford, from Fashionista.)
While I’ll agree I’m not exactly sobbing for Gisele and the “tough times” ahead (her vast fortune will certainly make things easier), I do think he makes an excellent point, and I would not want to be in her position. When you are the best of something, you can only go downwards (remember those stories of chef’s committing suicide when they lose a Michelin star?) and when you are one of the most beautiful women in the world, well, you can only really get uglier from there. We’d all like to think that everyone will remember Gisele for being the babe that she is, but I doubt that will be the case.
Liz Taylor is a great example. Yes, we can look at old photos of her and think about what a stunner she was, but there’s no erasing the images of her in her last days, looking haggard and old. We openly applaud the older actresses and singers who have had no plastic surgery, but there’s no denying they are getting less (or less glamourous) work then their “corrected” counterparts. On the other hand, look at Demi Moore, some may think she looks great, but everyone thinks it is pretty weird that she dates guys the same age as her kids, her plastic face barely shows emotion, and the pressure has obviously gotten to her, in more ways than one.
Of course for us normal women, this isn’t a huge concern. Most of us aren’t the most beautiful women in the world, so we don’t have to worry about losing that status. Many of us will probably be in partnerships with men roughly the same age as us, and therefore will hopefully not feel the pressure to look twenty at fifty. And most importantly, many of us are not in jobs where our looks are our main asset. (Let’s not get started on the fact that better looking people are more successful, that’s a debate for a whole other day.) Things are different for Gisele, and all the other models and celebrities who have at some point been “officially” considered “very beautiful,” because it is hard to stay at the top forever. And while people might say Tom Ford is all doom and gloom, the fact is, he is right. Personally, I’d rather be a decent-looking person that is spared the pressure of constantly looking good, and I am thrilled I won’t be making tabloid headlines when I get my first cellulite wrinkle. I’m one of the many guilty of pointing out Kate Moss’ cellulite (on a recent Louis Vuitton catwalk) but when you are a model, you are expected to look perfect, and it is very hard to get old. Isn’t being normal great?
P.S. It does suck that this is an issue that women have to deal with, more than men. But that too is an argument for another day…