A few years ago I was excited to be called into a meeting to discuss a beauty book project with Giselle Bundchen, the legendary supermodel. The meeting started late and so in the interest of time, the assorted agents, editors and fashionistas decided to skip introductions. Looking around the conference room I was a little bummed that I did not see Giselle at the table. I pulled out a notebook and tried to follow the rapid fire conversation which often dissolved into French or Italian. It seemed that they were talking as though Giselle was in the room, but I could not see her. Everytime someone spoke I stretched out my neck to see who was speaking, but still no Giselle. After about 15 very confusing minutes I realized that the slender girl sitting two chairs to my right ( who I thought was someone’s admin) was the iconic beauty. I stared so hard at her that the agent who had brought me into the project dug her elbow sharply into my rib.”Stop staring” she hissed in my ear.
Dressed in a baggy sweater and pants, her hair pulled back into a tight bun, she looked like a pretty upper east side school girl. I could barely see a trace of the blonde glamazon who strutted so confidently on the Victoria’s Secret runway. She was charming, friendly and completely unpretentious. But this was the woman that set the standards of beauty that men expected and woman measured themselves by. My point, and I do have one, is that in real time not even Giselle looked like the statuesque iconic Giselle. Comparing ourselves to unreal and unachievable standards only fuels painful insecurity about our appearance. And that is so unnecessary.