The Person in the Mirror

This article will make you beautiful!

If you are already feeling beautiful, that’s great! Good for you. Bravo! Unfortunately, being on the cover of magazines does not guarantee the feeling. 

Beauty is a subjective concept. Especially when it comes to one’s own beauty. A person’s exterior beauty comes from how he/she feels inside. Many Top Models and Beauty Icons didn’t see themselves as beautiful even though they were seen as such in the eyes of the whole world. I am thinking of, Marilyn Monroe, actress / singer of the 1950’s; Gia Carangi, Top Fashion Model of the 1970’s; or, Andy Warhol’s Super Star of the 1960’s, Edie Sedgwick. All three were very unhappy and did not love themselves – even though they were beautiful people as mush on the outside than on the inside.

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Marilyn Monroe was a “natural” actress. She was so sensitive that she felt emotions passionately, instantly. Her beauty radiated from her wherever she went. She had a presence that stood out from the crowds. Her beauty was unparalleled. That is probably also for the same reason that, deep down, she felt alone.

Gia strong look

GIA-cosmopolitan 1980 Gia daring whipcream

Gia Carangi was a girl who exuded extravagance. She looked as if she lived and did everything to excess, without anything affecting her. She became one of the first Super Models in the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s. When asked in an interview what made her, “Gia”, she simply replied: “I am whatever your eyes want to see.” This sentence demonstrates the strength in her. But, contrary to what one might interpret as vanity or self-confidence, really was a cry for help. Her nonchalant and provocative attitudes are as many proofs to her inner discomfort. She wanted to be understood, to be seen through all the tricks she hid behind to protect herself. She smiled all the time, could never hold in place, but she was a sex symbol whose body was used. She did not have possession of herself. A person who knew her well in the fashion world when asked what killed her, he responded: ” The lack of love. She never seemed to be able to find the people that could give her the love that she needed. ”

Edie Sedgwick New York City, 1965
Edie Sedgwick New York City, 1965

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Edie Sedgwick, is the third female figure that I will discuss here. She was heiress to a very rich American family. Educated in a school built for and on her father’s lands, she was raised away from the outside world. As a socialite, she evolved within worldly circles. Her extravagant makeup and look made her iconic. By herself, she reflected her time. But she confessed that she put so much makeup on in order to create some kind of mask because she did not think that she would be so special without. She too had a distant relationship with her own body. Not ready for sharing intimacy with a man, she felt at ease and safe in Andy Warhol’s homosexual world – so she thought. On an occasion she described, she woke up drugged, dead-still, while one of Andy’s photographers was forcing himself into her! She says it was necrophilia since her body was lifeless!

Her testimony is staggering. The poignancy aspect lies not in the words she uses, rather in the way she tells it. There is a discrepancy between what one would expect from a victim of such a disturbing act and the offbeat tone she takes when telling the story. She doesn’t seem to comprehend fully the ugly reality that she is depicting. The viewer is almost more disturbed by her story than she is. But when she describes the horrific scene with detachment, giggling nervously, it is through what she does not say that she shows how broken she is inside. Her testimony reveals her resignation in having no one to rely upon. Later on, when Andy Warhol were told that she died, he only said: “Edie who?”

For all three, their bodies and perfect faces did not bring them happiness, on the contrary. The benefits they made from their beauty did not return them either. The world raved about them, but all it gave them was jealousy and lust. They were generous people, who gave away all of themselves! They were used in all possible manners. They were not respected. In fact, like many people on earth, all three received the worst harsh words in their childhood. Incredibly beautiful and self-contained, they intimidated and the others felt threatened. The answer they received in return for the gift of their selves were attacks. They looked as if on top of everything, but being certainly more sensitive than the average, they were rather more vulnerable. These women, whose list is barely begun here, are the reflection of what many people feel in the mirror.

” It’s hard to make the difference of when it’s real and when it’s not real.” Edie Sedgwisk

Indeed, seeing ourselves in the mirror is not something innate. Infants learn to see their reflection. But the real reflection comes from what our loved ones infer about us during our childhood. The deepest wounds, that sometimes never heal, very often come from our loved ones. The way we look at ourselves in the mirror depends on what we were told. The reflection is subjective; we cannot see our own reflection objectively. It encapsulates many more factors that made us who we are.

Grunge film with Marilyn, Gia and Edie

Whether it is in front of the mirror, under the spotlight or behind the lens, a person can be ill-at-ease or not even see him/herself. One thing is certain; these three incredible women did not see themselves as the whole world pictured them. They were fabulous people whose death, even more so than their lives, is a travesty. The first died murdered – it was probably for the best as she was very unhappy in part because she never succeeded in having children. The second succumbed to AIDS. As a matter of fact, she tried to be loved by all means and was caught up by the disease of “love”. She died without anyone knowing, because the virus was still stigmatized as the disease only spread among gay men. And the third, although she did not die from a drug overdose, she abused drugs and underwent multiple stays in a psychiatric hospital, where she was given up to 20 electric shocks in 6 months. She, too, was devastated, because among the rights that she was denied, she was forbidden to carry through the child she had conceived with Bob Dylan. She was anorexic and took all kinds of hard drugs to forget her body – two obvious symptoms of a malaise and distance she had with regards to her self.

In addition to denying them their right to be mothers, they were forbidden to be women in their own right. They did not possess themselves. If indeed they tried to rely on the vision the world was depicting of them, they would find beautiful pictures of themselves side by side with criticism of the most distressing kind. They searched, but they never not found themselves in time.

Those who forget the past are to repeat it. For history not to repeat itself, please love yourself and the world will love you. No one can ever make you feel better than yourself. If there is emptiness inside you, fill the void with your love and kindness, before hoping to share YOU with someone else! (I will come back on this subject further in another article.) I hope this reminder will make you want to look a little more in the mirror and see how beautiful you are.

Good day to you, beauty of the world!

Related links to interviews :

Ciao! Manhattan – Edie Sedgwick (posthum 1972)

Simply Gia

© Text by Nancy for OUAStylist

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