At work today (my last day of freelancing, by the way), the picture editor was showing a young intern the inner workings of this particular trendy UK magazine. Actually, she's so ruthless (yet so yummy, bless her!) that the young boy was probably not an intern, but someone's kid-brother or so... or else she was pretty damn bored.
In any case, she stepped in the design part of the huge office, and showed the kid "the layout people." Yup, us. Those are the crummy MACs where all is pasted together, that's the scanner for the design intern to slave over, and that's the board where the pages are printed and pinned as the issue comes together, and... "Argh!" she yelped, "that Amelie Nothomb gal is too ugly, man! You gotta crop that picture! I thought we were using the black and white picture that burns half her face!" or something of the sort. And then she turned to the boy and solemnly parted her words of wisdom unto his virgin brain: "You gotta be a beautiful people if you wanna make it in this world, kiddo. Remember that."
I had my back turned, thankfully, because the expression in my face would've screamed, not revolt, no, but a semblance of perplexity, as I silently thought to myself: "Am I one of the beautiful people?"
Yes, for a second there, I doubted...
Now the problem is not whether I really am a beautiful people, but the fact that I was not initially struck by the absurdity of the comment, by that, giving validity to such a superficial statement.
I recall the first day of my placement within the magazine, telling Maha that they're all soooo beautiful! The girls are all skinny and tall and pretty, the guys are skinny and tall and pretty; and if they're not, they ooze a style that just screams "Yeah! I'm so fucking gorgeous!" And the one girl that's ugly and not stylish (she's born without shoulders, if you can picture that), the girls all groan and piss behind her back, referring to her as the "fat cow" in front of everyone... I mean, it's a fashion magazine, for fuck's sake! In my mind, it became an unwritten requirement that, in order to be included, you just had to be a beautiful people... You can imagine my ego-boost when I was let in on it all. The party invitations, the VIP passes to exhibition openings, the chance to gaze at the father of Kate Moss's child every day...
So, am I a beautiful people? As much as I try to be all intellectual and sensitive and feminist in my reflections about the whole "beauty is skin deep" mantra... it all boils down to: "Hell Yeah!"