on beauty

Author: angiem, 02 03rd, 2010

I read somewhere that truly beautiful people can obliterate you.  I don’t remember if it was Margaret Atwood or Isabel Allende who said it, but the phrase stuck with me. I’m not certain I agree, though.  Sure, there are some beautiful people that just leave you speechless.  I have a few such friends.  When I see them I almost hate them, I’m so envious. But then I have moments when I’m so charming, I even charm myself.

I grew up in a subculture where cosmetic enhancement of any sort was frowned upon, yet beauty was the calling card of any girl lucky enough to claim it.  When I was young an uncle told me that if a girl was not beautiful of face, she would do well to be likable, and I truly believed him.  I think the French teach their daughters the same.  I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure.  The whole world agrees that French women are utterly charming.

Anyway, a few days ago I was reading a post written by a friend, and she mentioned a project she was going to be a part of, regarding beauty.  A project that will explore the concept of beauty from all angles, seeking to find what is the “truth” of it.  Because I am so enthralled by the word, let alone the idea, and because Holly never fails to amuse and enchant me with her intelligence, I decided to go and find out if more participants were needed.

Yes, more were needed.  And guess what? You can be a part of this too, should you so desire.  A Beautiful State of Mind - The Project, is still seeking contestants.  Visit #mce_temp_url# to find out more and participate in the discovery of your inner and outer beauty.  Rhiannon, the founder of this project, is seeking women of all ages and all cultures to explore this often elusive and misunderstood concept.

Now for the icing on the cake, here is a photo of me taken with my iphone, sans make-up. Notice that it’s in black and white - the better to hide the imperfections. My son thinks the only difference is I look faded. Haha!


62 Responses to “on beauty”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Wow, you definitely don’t need makeup. :-) Some people have features that just fit together nicely. I completely agree that a charming person can look beautiful. I’m not sure about myself, but I’ve had friends who might not have had the most visually attractive set of features, but because of their hearts/smiles, etc, they are beautiful.

    I hope my heart shines past my face, and that it’s beautiful.

    Your culture sounds great. Others could learn a lot from it (including me)

  2. Janna Qualman Says:

    Very intriguing, Angie! And it sounds like some important lessons are to come for us, even those not participating first-hand.

    You’re brave, and you’re gorgeous! And I love that you’re wordy. ;)

  3. Susu Paris chic Says:

    You do look beautiful - sans et avec maquillage;)

    What an exiting project… I took a look and signed in.

  4. Francesca Says:

    The anthropology of beauty, how interesting! I like your son’s opinion of make-up:). But you don’t look faded to me, just very pretty!

  5. French Fancy Says:

    Angie - you are beautiful however much you try to deny it. I used to be so when I was young but my face has declined. However I am a lot happier and nicer than I used to be when my face was my fortune.

    A lot of very attractive people have very little personality - they’ve never had to cultivate it, their faces got them to where they are. Looks fade so we all need to develop spirit, character and outgoing love.

  6. Ava Says:

    That’s a really interesting idea. I wonder how many will be comfortable with baring their faces of makeup. I love how you look here.

  7. Bebe Says:

    You look a little like a young Lena Olin here. Beautiful!!!!!! I don’t know if I have the guts to do it. I think that line about French women is true.

  8. Deb Says:

    Very beautiful, love your picture, sans makeup! I got a good chuckle out of your son’s “faded”, kids are great!

  9. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    You’re gorgeous girlfriend!
    Natural beauty is a mysterious thing, certainly.
    I think everyone is beautiful, but to attain society or peer ideals is tricky and elusive and frustrating.
    I’m happier as I age and worry less about putting on a certain face, but it is fun to “clean up well” and feel a certain confidence that comes with that. But I think that it’s the inside out thing happening.
    Beauty is different from attractive which is different from infectious or charismatic . Great post , great things to ponder, and I’ll check out the link.

    With four daughters, okay and the son too, I hope I’m always sending the right message about this.

  10. laura Says:

    You are beautiful, Angie…inside and out!

    I remember when Teddy was two, I put on some red lipstick. He touched my lips and said, “It got red!” In a way that let me know he did not like it at all! don’t you wish everyone saw beauty the way our children do?

    Love to you, Angie.

  11. Sarah Laurence Says:

    I love Atwood and Allend too – both could have said it. I’m not into beauty or make-up. Nice natural photo!

  12. belle de ville Says:

    I agree with your son. No makeup needed.

  13. Cosmin Says:

    This is an interesting project, I will be curious to read about the results. Keep us posted. As for French women, they are not all chrming, lol. Happy Wednesday Angie.

  14. Holly L Says:

    You, my friend, are GORGEOUS! I am so glad you are doing this…I am not brave enough to do the sans makeup shot…although when I was taking my photos…I told my son oh wait I need lip stick..and he said why you look beautiful without it. Now I just need to write my paragraphs!

  15. Jena Says:

    I don’t need pictures to tell me how beautiful you are. Your writing and your kindness grabbed me from the first. You have a beautiful heart, what a pleasure to see that your face matches.

  16. Cindy La Ferle Says:

    You’re reading my mind again. I am intrigued by the topic of beauty, in all its forms, and just got a new book in the mail yesterday, titled: “Beauty and the Soul: The Extraordinary Power of Everyday Beauty to Heal Your Life,” by Piero Ferrucci.

    Can’t wait to read it, and promise to report back in a blog one day soon. And oh, the photo of you at the end of your post today is truly beautiful.

  17. Susan R. Mills Says:

    You are beautiful without makeup. I can’t wait to hear about the results.

  18. Elizabeth Says:

    Beautiful people are so stunning that one quite doesn’t know what to do….
    When I was young I was perfectly OK looking so worked extra hard on my
    being nice……
    I do wish it wasn’t a competition!

  19. Mama Zen Says:

    You are stunning. Truly.

  20. audrey Says:

    Angie i love this idea of the exploration of beauty. i could go on and on about beauty, physical, nature, inspirational… beauty takes its forms in many many ways and touches us in the most profound ways. this project is incredibly exciting.

    i love this picture of you. it is quite beautiful and quiet somehow. it’s special, i hope you like it too.

  21. Daniela Boata Says:

    Well said, French Fancy.

    I like, and always love to read about, your son. He, along with kids in general, is a good mirror. “Faded” inadvertently suggests the only role make-up plays in beauty: To enhance. (or sometimes conceal). I think when it’s used to conceal what cannot be is where the real secret to beauty lies.

  22. angiem Says:

    Jessica - Thank you. You are very pretty yourself! I believe that as we grow we pay more attention to a person’s character than his/her looks.

    Janna - I feel brave doing this. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is so much easier getting older if I accept myself the way I am. Not behind the mask of a made up face, but visible pores and all. That being said, I want to clarify that I am not giving up wearing make-up.

    Susa! I am so very thrilled!!!!

    Francesca - Thank you! My son is full of insights.

    Julie (FF) - Thank you, my friend. And I don’t know what you mean. You are a looker yourself! You are so right of course. When looks fade and our character is lacking, what do we have?

    Thank you, Ava. It is interesting. I wonder too, how many will sign up.

    Bebe - Lena Olin? I must try to remember what she looks like. Thank you. You lived in France for a while, didn’t you?

    Deb - Yes, I got a good chuckle when he told me too. There is nothing that brings me more down to earth than my kids and their observations of me. There’s no fooling them!

    Deb (@Talk at the Table) - That is what got me interested in this project. My kids need to recognize beauty of the heart and spirit as much as the physical.

  23. Mrsbear Says:

    I’m so intrigued. I’ve battled insecurities, both physical and otherwise, all my life. I’d love to examine the concept of beauty and misconceptions, I think it would be a great project to be a part of . I’m going to check it out.

    I love the black and white photo of you. It’s lovely. I do without the make up too for the most part, I hate the feel of it on my skin.

  24. Rhiannon Says:

    Gosh you are ALL so beautiful! Each and every one of you women :) Thanks Angie for the post and for being brave enough to write on the topic. I truly look forward to watching this project come together over the next few months!! xx Cheers to you all! Rhiannon

  25. Kristin Says:

    More faded. Ah ha ha. That’s hilarious. You’re gorgeous lady!

  26. angiem Says:

    Laura - That is sweet about your boy. Our children love us no matter what. Isn’t that something?

    Sarah - I believe you to be supremely self-confident.

    Belle de Ville - Thank you.

    Yes, Cosmin, I will. And they’re not?

    Holly, thanks. Me too. Got to get those in. And I believe you are beautiful whether or not you wear your lipstick. You just got used to it.

    Jena - Oh, that’s the sweetest compliment ever. :)

    Cindy -Thank you. I can’t wait to hear how that book is. Let me know if you highly recommend it.

    Thanks, Susan. I will keep you all posted. Hope you’re feeling better.

    Elizabeth - It’s sad that it’s become one, isn’t it?

    Mama Zen - You are too kind, but thank you!

  27. Dawn Says:

    You are quite a stunner. Beautiful! And your writing makes you even more beautiful.

    I’m very self conscious without my makeup. A bit shallow, I guess… :)

  28. SJ Says:

    Ahh but you ARE beautiful! Of course you know that, and that’s not what this was about. But still–I’d kill for that dark hair even though everybody says that blondes have all the fun. Or whatever the hell. I’ve too pale to go without makeup and not see every single tiny flaw on my face. I SO wish though!

  29. Mary Moon Says:

    Wow. Amazing. And yes, you are beautiful as is.

  30. Rick Says:

    Angie- I so reject “so called” conventional beauty, and I swear it’s not just cuz I’m so far out of its loop.
    But here’s my problem with it. You have beautiful eyes that speak languages and tones dictionaries can’t define. I look for such things in people. I think most people look for other things. Hollow things that mask the truly beautiful. You have the beauty all seek, but I think it’s your eyes and confidence that give it to you. That’s all.

  31. She Writes Says:

    Angie, if that quote is true, it is speaking of potential that you haver. You are stunning. But what makes you most beautiful is your heart. It shows up in every single post you write, and it shines through.

  32. Lori Says:

    Oh, yeah, pf course you get to participate. Look at you! I don’t even dare to open the link.

    But in any case, I just wanted to tell you how I have been a little shocked by the large, enormous, flabbergasting quantities of makeup worn in Romania. Especially on TV, of course, but still. I cannot recover.

  33. angiem Says:

    Audrey - Thank you. I do like the photo. It’s my day to day look. Hair up, face clean. Missed you. Would love if you would join too.

    Daniela - Julie (FF) is more often right than wrong. I believe most of us women use make-up to enhance.

    Mrsbear - That is what draws me in so. That concept of beauty, and the misconceptions pervading the entire society. It’s extremely interesting when we look at celebrities. We see them in magazines and they are so beautiful and inaccessible. Inadvertently we compare our looks to theirs, forgetting that they have been airbrushed and photoshopped.

    Rhiannon - Thank you for the opportunity. It’ll be great fun.

    Kristin - Indeed! And thank you :)

    Dawn - Oh no, I wouldn’t say that! I’m not comfortable going out without make-up, either. In fact even around the home, I used to put a little lipgloss on and mascara. This is all new to me too.

    Oh SJ, you want dark hair and all my life I’ve wanted light. What does that really say other than that we are never happy with what we have. I am sure your flaws are only imaginary.

    Ms.Moon - Thank you.

    Rick - Thank you. Spoken like the true poet you are.

    Amy (She Writes) - You say the nicest things. Thank you. You, my dear friend, are the wordsmith.

    Lori - You crack me up. Stop it! I know what you mean about make-up and women in Romania though.

  34. julie Says:

    Hi Angie
    Well beauty.. such a strange word… should bring happiness but I suspect it brings sadness to many…

    Well I think you look wonderful au naturale… Had to laugh at your son’s comment ‘just a bit faded’… how sweet!! Take care and have a great week xx Julie

  35. Bunny Says:

    Angie you are gorgeous, you don’t need makeup. One of my male friends who is very very good looking, single and dates lots of woman, always tells me that the prettiest girl at the bar can get ‘ugly’ very fast if she is boring, conceited etc. but the nice, fun, smart, confident woman keeps getting prettier and sexier the longer he talks to her. Its so true. Luckily you are blessed with it all :)
    The project sounds interesting, let us know when you are featured.

  36. French Fancy Says:

    Thank you Daniela

  37. Jill Kemerer Says:

    Angie, I agree with your son–you’re beautiful! What a neat project to be a part of. I look forward to hearing about your experience.

  38. Lydia, Clueless Crafter Says:

    I had one run in with a beauty pageant about 7yrs ago. It was for Miss Wisconsin and I lost big time because, my inner beauty, was something they weren’t looking for.

    That actually hurt more than if they’d told me my face doesn’t cut it.

    A disclaimer on the pageant: I was not involved in the circuit, but was approached by the pageant who was seeking fresh faces to the competition.

    That’s my beastly story of beauty. I think your project will reap many more rewards!

  39. Sharon Gibson Says:

    Hi you are a really beautiful woman, who writes beautifully too! Thanks for your kind comment over on My Passport to Style! Sharon xx

  40. Se'lah Says:

    you are beautiful!

    i think we must embrace the true beauty of who we are and not measure beauty by some random societal standard.

    hope you enjoy the rest of your week. glad i got a moment to stop by.

  41. Crystal Says:

    Wow! YOu are STUNNING! You are one of those people that were definitely blessed with awesome features. This sounds like a great project to be part of. I checked it out the other day after reading Holly’s post.
    Thank you for visiting my blog :)

  42. Karen@SurvivingMotherhood Says:

    Angie, you ARE beautiful! I love the picture without make-up. Don’t know about the “more faded” thing, but I think you look great. As is. *grin*

    And, guess what?? Just did the pick for the book, and you won!
    Email me your address and I’ll get it to you. Regular mail - not certified, though. LOL!

  43. Bridgette Says:

    Angie, although we have never met, I would say that you are beautiful. Your face is warm and loving, the features striking.
    But it is your words, and the warmth and love that come through them, that is the real icing on the cake.
    There is a picture of me sans cosmetics under Red Shoe Revolution, downright scary!

  44. angiem Says:

    Julie - Thank you. I suspect it brings sadness to many too. Yes, son is sweet.

    Bunny - I will keep you all posted. Thanks :)

    Jill - I can’t wait to see how perception of beauty changes.

    Lydia - Wow! You do have beauty pageant features. Too bad for them. They lost out on a wonderful opportunity. You are beautiful on the inside just as much as on the outside.

    Thank you, Sharon. My comment was heartfelt.

    Thanks for stopping by Se’lah. I imagine your project is keeping you very busy.

    Crystal - Thank you. So are you, and your daughter is the cutest. :)

    Karen - Not certified? No problem, girl. Thank you. So cool!

  45. angiem Says:

    Bridgette, that is such a beautiful thing to hear. I am pleased when I know my words touch others even if for a moment.

  46. Mwa Says:

    I don’t have any make-up. I don’t know if it would do anything for me. I know some people who look awful without any make-up. I hope I don’t end up that way. You definitely don’t need it, but if you like it why not?

  47. Make Do Style Says:

    You don’t need make up for your features. Great definition and colouring truly fab xx

  48. Stephanie Faris Says:

    You’re definitely very beautiful without makeup. Beauty is such a subjective thing, yet we seem to spend our lives chasing it. Many of the most beautiful people I’ve known were utterly miserable. I think true beauty isn’t something you work for…I think it just IS.

  49. pamela Says:

    It’s a fascinating question, beauty. It has so many varied definitions. And personally, if I had your marvelous colouring… I would never wear make-up!

  50. krista Says:

    i’ve got to go with spirit on this one. because some of the most “beautiful” women who show themselves to be vapid and shallow tend to lose their appeal. but the ones with bright spirits just get more and more beautiful, you know?
    you, lady, you are stunning.

  51. Deborah Says:

    You boy is absolutely right. You can always trust a Mama’s boy!

  52. angiem Says:

    Mwa - You don’t have any make-up? Even the women I know who don’t wear it have make-up. I’m impressed at your confidence.

    Thank you, Kate (Make Do Style).

    Stephanie, you are right. True beauty comes from the inside, doesn’t it? The happiness and kindness shining for the world to see.

    Pamela - You do have marvelous coloring. You’re what all the magazines deem beautiful. Thank you.

    Ah Krista… Thank you!

    Oh, I do Deb. He’s not just my number one fan, he’s super smart.

  53. jacqueline Says:

    such touching words…and yes, you do look beautiful!

  54. Daniela Boata Says:

    well I personally look forward to being able to go without any. my goal is to enhance my outer beauty through physical and spiritual health. I much prefer the look, aesthtically, on a daily basis.

  55. Jennifer Says:

    You are, of course, beautiful, and charming and kind, too. And I will try not to compare myself with you in any of those departments. ;) I do ok with the written word and can be likable . . .

  56. raluca Says:

    Esti frumoasa Angi,uite asa’’sans make-up”!!Si gasesc si articolul foarte inspirant.O buna perioada am fost,fizic vorbind”ratusca cea urata”:tot raul spre bine,nu?cred ca unchiul tau avea dreptate!Frumusetea fizica e o arma cu doua taisuri,mai ales atunci cand e singura arma..

  57. bethany Says:

    Oh. That photo! I feel obliterated!

  58. angiem Says:

    Jaqueline - Thank you!

    Daniela - You do not need make-up. Ever.

    Jennifer - If only I could be as modest as you! You are beautiful, charming, kind and an amazing writer!

    Multumesc, Raluca. Pentru compliment dar si pentru vizita. :)

    Bethany - Oh STOP!!

  59. TERI REES WANG Says:

    Yep! you’ve have naturally striking features and adding gloss is much like polishing the silver. Yes, it’s nice when it’s shiny but, it seems to share so much more story when it has been left untouched.

    I realize now, that I have been so camera shy for most of my life, that I am still surprised and do not recognize my own face when it actually captured and displayed by the hand of someone else.

  60. Autumn Says:

    You are stunning doll! I have always thought that you were beautiful! Inside and out! xoxo!

  61. Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita Says:

    You are beautiful - inside AND out!

  62. Ani Says:

    You have beautiful face features Angie… makeup only enhances your already beautiful face :-)… I have to admit… I love makeup :-).

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