Janet Sumner Johnson
About Author Visits Blog Books Events Contact Press Kit

Celebrities with NO Make-up, Writer Edition

Oct 14, 2013 Uncategorized 11 comments

I’m sure you’ve seen them. Those picture-articles titled something like: “What Celebrities Look Like With NO Make-up!”

I believe they are supposed to make us feel good, because even the Stars don’t look like Stars all the time!* Which brings us to the logical conclusion that if we had our own personal make-up artists and wardrobe consultants, we, too, would look like Stars. Right?

In fact, this whole idea inspired me to share such a comparison of myself:

Now, I know these pictures look like a before and after for some weight-loss program, but you should know:
  1. I weigh approximately the same in both these pictures. If anything, I weigh less in the not-so-nice picture.
  2. These pictures are taken less than a year apart (the not-so-nice one being taken last winter, the nice one being taken yesterday).
  3. I am wearing make-up in both of them.
So all these things being equal, what is the real difference between these two pictures? Why is one extremely not-so-nice, and the other so much better?
The answer? Effort.
In the not-so-nice one, I am not sure if I took this picture or if my husband did. Maybe it was even one of the kids. Clearly the photographer gave no thought to getting a nice picture. Snap, and it was done.
In the other picture, I took 21 pictures, adjusting something each time until I got a picture I liked. First the lighting wasn’t right, so I tried some different locations. Then the angle of my face bothered me. Next it was my smile, then where my eyes were looking. After 20 little tweeks and nudges, I decided I was satisfied. In short, I put forth a lot of work and effort to get something that I felt was presentable.
This, dear peeps, is why we revise. Why we get beta readers and critique partners. Why we read and re-read our work and make changes until our eyes bleed. Because seriously, can you imagine sending that not-so-nice picture to an agent or editor?
I thought not.

*And I’ll give us all the benefit of the doubt that we like those Stars better for it, and feel the indignity of what the paparazzi subject them to, because who would like having their picture taken in all their worst moments?


11 Responses to “Celebrities with NO Make-up, Writer Edition”

  1. Jessica Bell says:

    Hehe, nice way to prove a point. (PS: I love those celeb photos, makes me feel a little more human.)

  2. Old Kitty says:

    Ooooh never take pics from below!!

    Yes, effort and taking one's time to plan definitely pays off! Yay! Take care

  3. MikeS says:

    I was going to ask who the person in the left picture was until I read the whole explanation. I guess that means I like the one on the right better because it is somebody I recognize.

  4. Marcia says:

    Very nice way to illustrate the importance of revising!

    The main problem with the not-so-nice pic is that the person who took it shot UP at you. I've always remembered being advised, "Don't ever let a photographer shoot up at you!"

  5. In addition to your observation about effort and revision, I think this also illustrates something about perspective too. As others said, the view from below is less flattering and can seem distorted compared to viewing at eye-level–hierarchies among characters can create perspective distortions, too.

  6. Definitely food for thought! I never want to be famous for this reason alone. There would be a lot of bad pictures of me out there for people to laugh at, hah. As it is, I've been able to control most of what goes out there.

  7. Good point, but since I think you look lovely in both pictures….

  8. Actually, I think both pictures look nice. It's all in your point of view! Good example of revising though.

  9. Janet, I thought you looked nice in both pictures. I like how you compared before and after pictures to writing and revising. Great point.

  10. Dawn Simon says:

    Nice analogy–though both pics are nice in different ways. 🙂 I wouldn't want anyone but my crit partners to see my first draft!

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

  11. The angle of the picture also makes a HUGE difference, as does how close the photographer was to the person.

    I never would have guessed they were the same person!!! You look amazing in the first picture.

    My kids have learned that when I say I want to take a picture, I really mean I want to take at least 20. 😀

Leave a Reply