What do we define as natural? Is a woman who wears no make-up with her hair scrunched back into a messy bun considered as ‘natural’? Or is perhaps someone who throws on a vest top and jeans considered to be styling the ‘natural’ look? I’m afraid to tell you that it is neither. That so called ‘naturally desired look’ is seen to be defined bone structure of the cheeks, a straight nose, a symmetrical face, lips that are pouted but not too bulging, eyes that are the same size and colour that sit the same distance apart, a tiny forehead, perfectly coiffed eyebrows, luscious locks of hair and tiny ears stuck to your head.
To those of you reading, stop and study your face – the chances that you have every single one of these features is probably rather slim, (unless you’re Cara Delivigne of course) and therefore stops this desired look from being considered as natural, right?
Well, not quite if you’re trying to break into the industry. I was looking for part-time jobs when I stumbled across an advertisement on Gumtree. The site was showered with agencies looking for models. ‘Part time models required, no experience necessary, natural appearance, anyone who wants to become a role model’ was the tag line. Perfect, I thought. I’ll take a few photos and show young people that you can do anything because there ARE people out there who accept you for who you are. I was wrong. Scrolling down what I thought was too good to be true, I came across one of the ‘required elements’. ‘Has to be a size 6, 5ft10, good looking, attractive and toned’.
Nothing about that sentence shouts to me ‘natural appearance’. Someone who is 5ft 10 should not be a size 6. Their body mass index indicates that they should weigh no lower than 9 and a half stone and can weigh up to 12, making them around a healthy size 8 or 10.
Toned is not natural. Let’s just put that out there. I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t exercise. I am probably classed as a fitness freak and being toned is one of my ‘required elements’ for my own body, but it should never be defined as natural. A toned body comes from hard work in the gym but natural beauty should come from within.
It was this job advertisement that inspired me to consider what is natural? Models dye their hair, correct? Models are caked in make-up for every shoot or runway appearance, correct? So why do they need to be seen as natural to get the job in the first place, if they are then to be changed as soon as they appear on set? I guess the answer to this is so the designers and artists have a somewhat blank canvas to work with, to then portray to us (the passive audience) what they consider as naturally desired.
But the ‘Ohh so naturale’ models of our time often prove to be not so. I mention Kate Moss and everyone’s brains flash with images of the supermodel on drugs, a not so natural substance and definitely not one to create a desired appearance or role model. The cocaine substance suppresses your appetite while keeping you awake long enough to keep working through the unsociable hours. Many models have dropped ridiculous amounts of weight using the drug and have continued to be accepted within the industry as they now fit right in with the aspirational size zero runway figure. Yes, the defined cheek bones runway models possess is often not a natural feature but one occurring from lack of nutrition and healthy living.
It is only recently that brands such as H&M, to whom Kate Moss models for, have threatened to drop the model from her campaign if she continues to be spotted indulging in the drug. But surely this is due to protecting their own reputation and the lie that all models are naturally skinny rather than worrying about young people in the industry damaging themselves, as they follow in her footsteps.
But let’s give Kate a break, she’s not the only one to change herself. Top Model superstar Tyra Banks was rumoured to have had plastic surgery on her nose at the beginning of her career. An effort to confine to the ‘natural’, straight, button nose she was required to have to be successful.
It really does sound like I am ranting on because I am jealous of whoever has managed to break into this cruel yet inspiring industry. And yes, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to be involved in the flashing lights, beautiful make-up and stunning gowns, but I do believe that anyone should be accepted into the fashion industry.
A long time ago absolutely no one would have thought that plus size models would have been allowed to even step a toe onto the runway and look what has happened? There are so many brands reaching out to people of that demographic. But where are the brands for the average people among us? Those who are not a size zero and are not plus size, but just average. We eat right, but don’t starve ourselves and are generally happy with how we look and just want to inspire others.
There is no place for us, with our slightly wonky nose or uneven eyes, ears that are not entirely pinned to our heads and thighs that are not the size of pencils. Yet, I believe that these features many of us possess, are what should be considered as natural. Features left as how you were born, the way mother nature intended you to be. So readers, fight for what you think is natural and maybe you just might figure something out that could change society!