The pressures of chasing perfection
This evening I wanted to write about a thought-provoking article I read very recently in British Vogue, as I thought it’d strike a chord with many of you too.
Former supermodel, Linda Evangelista, is on the cover for the first time in many years, and inside, she tells the story of how she was left ‘brutally disfigured’ by a CoolSculpting treatment.
CoolSculpting is designed to reduce fat cells across the face and body to create a more smooth and lifted appearance. Unfortunately, Linda had an adverse reaction that caused her fat cells to increase. Within 3 months of treatment, areas of her body started getting larger and harder and began to protrude. It made her feel so embarrassed and uncomfortable that she went into hiding at home, for over 5 years.
Linda said if she had known of the side effects, she ‘wouldn’t have taken the risk’…. So why did she?
Apparently, the CoolSculpting adverts were playing over and over on all major television channels and asked, ‘Do you like what you see in the mirror?’, and she felt as though they were speaking to her. As she’d got older, she’d developed stubborn pockets of fat she didn’t like, and as the treatment involved no supposed downtime or surgery, she went for it. But in her own words ‘it backfired’.
This got me thinking of the huge pressures we feel as women to chase ‘perfection’.
We’re constantly bombarded with images that have been so airbrushed, we’re no longer sure of what’s real, and what’s not. We then destroy our self-esteem worrying about parts of our bodies that have changed shape, cellulite that has appeared and stretch marks that have crept in.
For example, I’m now regularly asked by clients if I can ‘get rid’ of their pores during appointments and I have to constantly remind them that pores (along with every other perceived concern mentioned above), are not flaws. They are a completely natural part of the human body.
I’m sure not one of us would have looked at Linda Evangelista before treatment and thought ‘Jeepers, she needs to do something about those fat pockets!!”. Yet there she was. A ‘supermodel’ stood tearing herself apart in the mirror because she thought she had ‘flaws’. A feeling that led to life changing consequences and is a true reflection of how much work that needs to be done in this area.
It’s one of the reasons the ‘E’ in BASE is so important as it stands for ‘Educate to empower’. It’s my responsibility as a skin expert to not only give you the tools that help you look and feel your absolute best, but also to guide you through the world of skincare so that you can separate the facts from the fiction.
By learning to celebrate our bodies for all they do for us, it ensures we don’t fall victim to superficial flaws, unrealistic expectations and negative self-talk. So, the next time you catch yourself over analysing in the mirror, remember to take a step back and talk to yourself like someone you love 💖
Amy is a qualified skin expert and founder of BASE. When she’s not writing about skincare, you’ll find her applying it, developing it or daydreaming about it instead!