Like most girls, Sally Sampson spent her teen years self-loathing but her penchant for acting overtook the pressures of being pretty.
“Your face is pretty enough, but that thing…”
My best friend trailed off, pointing to the centre of my face, looking as serious as a man about to go in for a rectal examination. I stared back at him blankly; I’m not going to lie, I was completely perplexed! Seeing my dumbass expression, he continued “It’s got to change, so you might want to consider your ‘options’ if you really want to succeed in show business!”
I was horrified when I realised (finally!) that he was talking about my nose. Oh yes, he had dissed my Barbara Streisand! And yes, we are still friends, (as he has since retracted the comment in fits of giggles, incredulous as to how it is he had the balls to say what he said to me) but truth be told, it wasn’t the first time someone had said something about my nose. He was only one of countless others that have not-so-casually pointed out certain characteristics in my physical appearance, whilst making a face that is most commonly seen on people with irritable bowel syndrome.
My Beyoncé booty has been the butt (haha - get it?) of many jokes, as has my ridiculously small stature (do you come from Hobbiton?). Not to mention, I’ve got two toes on my right foot that my mother calls tadpoles because they are partially-webbed! (I don’t know why she gets to make fun of them …they’re her bloody genes!)
The truth is, for the better part of my life, like many girls, my self-esteem and my self-worth was somehow connected to how pretty people perceived me to be. I spent so many years dreaming of owning my own do-it-yourself liposuction kit that I could just attach magically to my ass to get the job done. I would stand in front of the mirror and push the tip of my nose up, trying to get rid of the bump in the middle, accidentally making myself look like Miss Piggy. I would lie on my back and suck my stomach in to see what I would look like without the three rolls of fat that had taken up residence on my midriff in early adolescence.
It was a tough time, but back in my teen years, something magical happened to me. I found something I loved to do and worked hard at to replace my self-loathing. I discovered the wonders of the stage and I found that there I could be anyone and anything I wanted to be. I could talk to imaginary people out loud and, not only throw my peers off the fact that I was actually pretty mental, but also get applauded for it! I decided then and there that I was meant to be an actor. It was my calling!
But going back to my friend, who shall remain nameless (he knows who he is)… I just want to state, for the record, despite his entitled stance on the matter that he is not in the entertainment field, he is not an agent and he is not Leonardo Dicaprio’s personal assistant. In fact, his only connection to show business is his firm belief that he was somehow able to communicate telepathically through the screen to the stylists behind Sex and the City to influence what Sarah Jessica Parker wore from one episode to the next. He doesn’t list it on his CV, but he’s adamant it happened.
Now, despite his distance from the business, my friend thought it his duty to warn me of the dangers of entering the field ‘unprepared’. “After all, what director is going to ask for your close-up when your nose has a face on it?” Everyone is a critic and that’s the truth and all jokes aside, I see what he was saying, even though I don’t agree with the premise of it.
I wanted to be an actor because it enabled me to transform myself inside out and early on, I realised that was way better than anything any plastic surgeon could ever do for me. And I suppose I was lucky that I found so constructive a channel to direct all of my self-hatred because as my confidence as a performer grew, I gradually broke away from many of the insecurities that associated my self-worth with how many cheeseburgers I could eat before my face exploded with acne.
Nevertheless, the truth is that we are surrounded, day and night, in the media, and particularly in the Arab world by women who have had so much work done on their faces, that they look like Sphinx cats with wigs and makeup thrown on them as a final touch. And it ain’t pretty! (Just look at Courtney Cox’s before and after pictures! And dare we forget what Sabah looked like in her last years??!! Holy shit!)
Millions upon millions of dollars, pounds, euros are poured daily into media outlets that tell women that they aren’t and never will be perfect if they choose to stick with the bits and pieces God has already given them without nipping and tucking and plumping and shaving and dissecting the fuck out of themselves. Even the most beautiful of women come to eventually consider plastic surgery as an option down the line once their lady parts start to travel south towards the equator.
It’s not just the entertainment business that holds women to this fucking impossible ideal. It’s everyone, everywhere. And of course it drives me crazy, but mostly it just makes me sad.
I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the plastic. I want to see foreheads that move! I want to see women over the age of forty on television that don’t look like Goldie Hawn in the film Death Becomes Her. I’m tired of the little button noses that come with an oxygen tank. I want more Dustin Hoffmans and Adrien Brodys with big-ass hook noses that take your breath away. I want more Betty Whites and Maggie Smiths in the world, with lines and contours etched on their faces that tell a story of their own.
I want to see real people.
And so to my dear unnamed friend (and to anyone else who agrees with him) who thinks my nose is hopelessly and unattractively big, I leave you with this quote:
“If somebody doesn't have enough judgment to be able to look at plastic surgery and realise how phony it is, then they can't be helped.”
Brian Austin Green
I’m not going to rattle on about this but just so you know, I am and always will be a NOSEY bitch!
Now, Mr. Spielberg, I’m ready for my close-up….