Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The question of smiling, fake serious faces, and authenticity

"SMILE!" We all know that yelp before a casual photo. Or "SAY CHEESE!" Time to fake smile. Oh wow, look how much fun I'm having! Hey, my life is awesome!

I am now a proficient fake smiler and even fake laugher, a result of years of rigorous training. Doing this convincingly in "real" life is a whole other blog post.

But the opposite of a forced smile is forced seriousness, which is just as fake as the smile but maybe easier to pull off. Without this pose, I wonder if high fashion would even exist. It's simply the relaxed face with a dash of intention or self-awareness.

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

I suppose when you drop a whack-ton of money on a Chanel suit, it's serious business. My face upon spending such sums would probably look like the Psycho shower scene, if I'm still conscious at all. And then there are those who live in rarefied air who don't even blink. Sigh. I'd like to try on that face some day for realsie, and I'd have my personal assistants pose for me.
Me (with camera to assistants): Just relax and show how happy you are working for me. Did you not hear me? I said &*#(@6 HAPPY!! 
Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

The Zoolander face is the absolute best example of the fake serious face: the sucked in cheeks, exaggerated pout, and squinched eyes. And an inner growl which probably only dogs can hear. (Zoolander is a movie that spoofs high fashion.)

For me, the fake laugh often leads to a real one and the fake super-serious face does too, but does a fake serious face lead to a real serious face? I hadn't thought about it until just now. I would guess no, although wretched photos do inspire real-life serious faces, if grimaces or frowns qualify.

Even the effects of gravity on a face, especially jowls, can mimic a serious face, which usually translates into a real-life one too because it is so fecking annoying! Does that make it a high-fashion face? Hardly. But there are sometimes scary faces strutting down runways, not due to physics but the gravity of the situation I suppose.

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

About the outfit - my friend Mara (I've written about her before HERE) drew my eye to these pieces on the super summer discount rack at a local consignment store, a dusty rose suedine (ultrasuede) dress by Dutch brand 10 Feet and this sheer nude trench coat/dress thing by Mint Velvet. 

You can see the sunscreen on my nose as I didn't bring my parasol. Friends have often reminded me I must blend it in but I always forget and it's hard to notice indoors before I go out.

 Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

I think models fake laughing as they strut down a runway might be just as surreal as models with serious faces. It's all part of a role anyway; otherwise, it would be called people walking nowhere indoors in a straight line.

All of this begs the question: is there such a thing as authentic? Is that ever enough? How do we know when we look real authentic as opposed to fake authentic? Maybe we need an app for that. Lie detector machines have tried and still fail.

I enjoy finding the sweet spots in between the poses, the off-guard moments, which, if I am successful, I may try to wrest into a repeatable formula thereby ruining them. And it's too bad that the candids are also often the ones I don't want to share. There's genuine and there's too genuine. I like a bit of curation. Can't I have my cake and eat it too!?

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

Maybe everything is an illusion. Maybe the idea of an "authentic look" is not possible anymore with ever increasing photo moments in our daily lives, like we're running on some joke of a cosmic loop of "say cheese." We survey life through the lenses of cameras, our own, others', and surveillance which so far we don't feel the need to pose for (she wrote, looking nervously around the room with a stiff grin on her face).

I'll link up to Patti at Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. I hope I'll see you there.

Finally, I have recently been in a Canada-wide ad campaign for Shopper's Drug Mart, part of The Beauty Project they're running until September 6, HERE and a video HERE. If you go into one of their stores (or online), chances are you'll see me in photos and/or a bunch of little videos. Just imagine that I'm encouraging you to try a new look! Filming was a great experience, in Toronto on two occasions this summer.

So have a look if you can. Let me know what you think. I put two of the photos on my IG, here and here.

That's it, seriously, authentically, maybe. Cheers, everyone!!





24 comments:

  1. Firstly you look really fabulous, elegant and cool in those pinky shades! and I like particularly your shoes!. You rock subtle colors!
    Actually, your description of "people walking nowhere indoors in a straight line" is totally accurate (and totally funny too). When I stop to look at whatever I'm doing, it's usually ridiculous, and make me laugh (like taking my pics in a garage alley). Humour makes life better!
    So I'm guilty of faking a serious face and also faking a smile sometimes.
    besos & risas

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    1. Absolutely about humour. Yes, yes, yes. There is so much ridiculousness in everyday life which must be celebrated. There is no guilt in this kind of fakery. Heh. xo

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  2. Wonderful look. You are a woman of many moods! As for smiling, I am so used to it now I don't think of it really. I have terribly crooked teeth and I don't care. My sister thinks I put it on for fake but I really don't.. I just know how to smile to look good in a photo. I don;t think that's fake, I think it's sensible!

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    1. I agree. It IS sensible. Photos of smiling are usually much more inviting than photos of seriousness. And if it becomes natural, all the more reason it's not fake. I think. So glad you are spreading your smiles all over the place.

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  3. There's a bit of fake in all of us (just like a little Elvis), esp when we're on our social accounts. You look like a natural all the way, and I love the pic with the sunscreen. Models - they're just like us!

    Srsly, I love this look, the colors and the flow, and your wonderful facial expressions. xox

    Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Yeah, I like to think there's a bit of Elvis in me but I'm sorely missing his swivel hips! Thanks for the vote of confidence. Suzanne has helped me with the sunscreen issue on a couple of occasions! We're all going through the moves every day I think. xo

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  4. omg. i am so glad i found your blog. YOU ARE STUNNING. Such an inspiration! :)
    definitely following!
    TheNotSoGirlyGirl // Instagram // Facebook

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  5. I used to feel more fake than I do now. I think it's only because I've grown accustomed to being fake for the camera, or simply that it feels more natural and less fake with more practise. Stupid really. I'm training myself to love being fake. LOL

    Researchers claim that you can make yourself feel happier simply by smiling. Sometimes I think the ridiculousness of taking a bunch of photos of myself makes me laugh out loud.

    The sunscreen on your nose is such a Mel thing! LOL

    I think you have a natural ability to change up your looks so effortlessly. I never see your photos as being fake even when you're pulling faces in your stairwell. I think that's the sign of a professional model AKA someone that can walk nowhere with ease.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I think we do get used to fake, which is comforting and troubling at the same time. Its consequences can be dire or not depending on the job we're in. Hahaha, good luck with your training.

      Thanks for your sunscreen help always. That's what friends are for! And I love walking nowhere with ease. Join me! xox

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  6. Oh, man. I'm coming off a 10-hour stint of too-little sleep and too much standing in the direct sun as an extra for a TV show. (I'll tell you more about that later!) My brain can't process yet what is real or authentic. Am I really reading this post? Is that Mel with some smudgy sunscreen on her nose? Maybe. It makes me smile. Authentically. Because the perhaps-real-unreal-real version of my friend always makes me smile from inside out.

    And I love your real-unreal outfit. Whether it's real or not, those colors make me swoon a little. Those floaty fabrics are like a delicate pastry with a light strawberry cream mousse swirl-like thing dancing on a tiny plate. (Too unreal? Or maybe just a weird comparison?)

    Now I must go meditate with hopes of finding my way back from the surreality of this comment. Who am I again?

    Really--You always inspire me. Always. And I love playing in your world with you. Thank you for that.

    HUGS,
    Sherry

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    1. Being in TV land could definitely do one's head in. Walk around the room, touch familiar things. Hahaha! And I think that's why they say Pinch me!, to snap us out of it.

      I like your description of the colour. It FELT like that too but no taste.

      I'm excited about your extra work! Cheering!!!! xo

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  7. I have to go into my local SDM now and brag to the staff, "I know that woman! You should give me a discount! Do you want to take my picture? Hey, where are you going?" LOL, I get such a kick out of my "arm's length" fame from knowing you.

    Love this suedine (who comes up with these??) dress - the colour is stunning on you. I am guilty of being a fake it till I feel it-er. I smile in the face of everything, but sometimes I feel like I have the smile but the dead eyes give me away. I've gotten so used to smiling for my blog pictures - only recently have I been taking a few with my Resting Babe Face. Feels more real to look grumpy - how does that work?

    Good to see you, darlin'. Hope you are having a fabulous summer!

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    1. Don't expect any discount. Even hanging out in my local SDMs I have to clear my throat several times and roll my eyes at the photos or videos to help them make the connection. Hahaha!

      I don't know where I first heard that word suedine but I love it. It reminds me of Nadine, Bulletproof Love. Your smiling looks authentic all the way! Good work there! I like your Resting Babe Face phrase.

      This summer has been awesome!! When, oh when, will I make it over there!?? xo

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  8. I have the luck that my partner is my photographer and hè always makes me laugh! I real LIFE though, I have a ,,non smiling face,,! Had it all my life! And also all my life people asked me if I was in a bad mood!!! No, it s Just my face!

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    1. Wow, you are so fortunate to have a photographer partner. Your photos are always wonderful! Real-life laughs can't be beat. I had a makeup person once say, relax your face, no, really, relax your face. I had so say, it IS relaxed. Those are lines. Sigh.

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  9. you always amaze me with your beautiful style! thx eva

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    1. Thank you, Eva. Cool business you have!!

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  10. Love the dusty rose dress. I am the worst at posed pictures---I get super cheesy and blink a lot!!

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    1. Ha, I never thought about the blinking. The trick is to take a couple hundred photos and you'll find one with your eyes open. It's taken years and years to get to this comfort level, which is good and not good at the same time.

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  11. I really like the dress and sheer trench combo. The colours play nicely together! This is an interesting subject for a blog post. I really don't know what an "authentic" facial expression is for me anymore. I have been accused of having resting bitch face in the past, and I suppose my default expression tends towards the serious side, but I do try to lighten it up a bit in photos. However, you know from the photo shoots I've done, I'm better at sad/angry/serious then perky/happy/excited

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  12. Buying a piece of clothing of a Dutch brand. Well done Mel. It has travelled far but is in good hands now. I think you look very sophisticated in these new blush items. Lovely.
    Saw the video you are featuring in: definitely very good.
    The two IG make-up photos?? Hmm they are all right, but I think you do a better make-up yourself. (Don't tell the brand this.)
    Greetje

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  13. Seriously, I luv that see-thru coat. What a silly thing actually. A coat that's so light and thin it's transparent. But that's what makes it so wonderful to wear. It lets you to mix your colors like you're painting, not just wearing, your wardrobe. Way to go.
    And Wow! You are more and more famous every time I stop by.

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  14. I think it's mostly authentic.
    We are different people for different purposes. The venue (at least partly) imposes the type of authenticity within a context.
    If you don't go there, you don't get to be that self. And, it's going to take several times to evolve within any particular context. Sometimes we jump ship from some level of revulsion.
    I think there's authenticity created within this process.
    Love, Jude

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