What is beauty, anyway?

Twist Me Toned - Tannis Miller
Twist Me Toned – Tannis Miller

(Photo by Habster Photography)

Beauty is diversity. Wrinkles are always considered smile lines reflecting years of laughter, and curves are reminders of health and contentment that reflect many years of enjoyment. Freckles are perfection, and stretch marks are nothing more than a direct reminder of a beautiful life that was brought into this world.
Overweight, underweight, tall or short, we are all beautiful and we never think otherwise, not even for a second. Judgment and comparing don’t exist in society, and neither do shortages of confidence.
Unfortunately in today’s world, the above beliefs don’t commonly exist. Sadly, we are inhabitants of a media-driven society where beauty is often cookie-cutter, and in fact, the opposite of diverse. We are more often than not too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, too wrinkly, too freckly, too blemished, and just plain not beautiful enough. This, I believe, is largely provoked by worldwide marketing tactics.
Anti-aging products and cosmetics companies are billion-dollar industries, and fat-loss pills and supplement companies are at the top of the financial totem pole due to nothing more than selling dreams. Dreams of success, and dreams of beauty.
Advertisements for clothing, fragrance, and surgical enhancement companies use already impossibly thin and beautiful models and snip, chop and Photoshop until they are un-humanlike and even unrecognizable to the models themselves.
A breath of fresh air
Last summer, my business partner Ainsley and I were fortunate enough to have been contacted by a photographer (Lloyd of Habster Photography) who longed to do a very special photoshoot with both of us, with me doing double-duty as the makeup artist. What he wanted to shoot wasn’t typical to us and we were at first taken aback when he requested that we arrive without makeup for some completely natural shots.
He said he had an idea, and reluctantly but shortly thereafter, we started tossing around concepts and we were on board. Together, we decided we wanted to create a strong portrayal of what real women looked like compared to the made up and edited versions we are all brainwashed to consider the ideal standard of beauty.
Both of us had been published in numerous fitness magazines and advertisements over the years, and now with Twist Me Toned, spend a lot of time designing presentations for young female high school students regarding what’s real and what’s not. What’s cool is that we often use our own modeling images as examples.
Although I love makeup, I feel it’s refreshing to break free of it sometimes. In an attempt to help women of all ages identify with what’s beautiful and what’s fake, we just couldn’t pass this project up. In both of our four panel posters, Ainsley and I begin without a stich of makeup, as natural and vulnerable as one could be (nothing hidden here).
The second photo is where I’ve added just a touch of makeup for a “no makeup” makeup look, and the third a more glamourized and dramatic look.
The final photo is more or less what a magazine or advertisement would use; the glamourized look with the addition of some photo editing the photographer had done to blur away any typical marks or creases that weren’t considered “beautiful” by cultural standards.

The four stages of transformation. Photo by Habster Photography
The four stages of transformation. Photo by Habster Photography

As you can see, the first photo and the final photo are quite different, but still the same person. It really shows the true power of makeup and what editing can do.
The women in magazines do not exist
This should get you thinking, how often are you comparing yourself to the women in magazines? Coming from two of them, the women in the magazines do not exist. And guess what? Neither do their flawless complexions and cellulite-free legs-for-miles.
When ideals of beauty are a mythical combination of figments of technology and artistry, how fair are we being with ourselves when we set the beauty bar? Learning to embrace your features rather than see them as flaws is the true first step in achieving happiness and balance within yourself. Because a healthy mind is a healthy body, and beauty is always diverse. Really.
Tannis Miller is a personal trainer and business owner at Twistmetoned.com, and an experienced self-taught makeup artist and beauty guru. Tannis’ work has been published in and on the covers of It’s Love Winnipeg, Status Fitness Magazine, and Inside Fitness magazines.

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