I don't want to tell you anything you already know. You're probably exhausted from reading how women's images are manipulated and eating disorders are livid within entertainment. Therefore, I'll try to tell you about things you may not know. Apologies if some of this is too stream of mind for you. I have a lot I wish I could say and such little space. Why don't we aim for ultra conversational for once like we're chatting at a restaurant?
You know how many women you see in magazines you think are entirely natural? They aren't. I've gone out to parties and events and in daily life as well randomly crossed paths with everyone from reality stars upwards to real movie stars. I'm not against plastic surgery. I whole heartedly support it because it helps people with confidence problems who want to fix that one thing bugging them and does incredibly beautiful things for car accident patients rebuilding their faces.
What you should know is those people who you'll see comments about on news articles like, "She's so naturally beautiful!" nearly all have obvious plastic surgery and/or a heavy hand of facial fillers done in person. Something is happening where it's either Photoshopped out or looks good in photos and different in person. In reality, you'll find a lot of girls opt for small breast implants instead of large ones, one lip injection instead of two tubes, a brow lift instead of Botox, one nose job instead of three and yes people do three, you pretty much get the idea. They think getting it done at a lesser level makes them appear natural. A few plastic surgeons are geniuses with their craft. Most aren't. They will take your money and leave you resembling yourself in a plastic form.
You know the sign of a good plastic surgeon when they won't operate on you because they want your money. When I was fixing a reconstructive problem I caused myself over the years with a few celebrity plastic surgeons, I asked one of them, "Since I'm going to be doing this anyway fixing this part of my face that needs reconstructive work yet again, can I have a nose job?" He gave me a major self esteem lecture on how I should value myself and he wouldn't fix it because he thought I was really pretty. He said, "What you're asking is for me to make you look like everyone else. I can do it. You will either look like you do now with a fake looking nose or you will hate the result and want a redo. Don't try to look like everyone else." I was there because thanks to a lip filler gone wrong at a different clinic, whatever happened to Michael Jackson's nose happened to my upper lip. I've since had it basically all cut out and stretched out again over a custom implant. Lesson learned. Cosmetic surgery with implants and geniuses at work is amazing and less likely to go wrong medically. Lip fillers are not. You won't know until you get one to damage your lip to where it's eaten away and hear from all these young women who say it's happened to them and they're embarrassed to tell anyone about it. And yeah, as much as I'd love to have bigger lips, I'm not going to be in denial like Michael Jackson and get fillers over my implant.
What's wrong with this picture is young women question why they don't look like the girls a few years older than them in their 20's and older women question why they aren't aging as well as their same age counterparts in magazines. Yes, there is such a thing as aging well. My face looked 10 when I was 15 and as I near 30 looks like it did in school without makeup on over my very curvy, not still in school looking frame. You may know someone like me.
The majority of women in Hollywood are likely not going to be like me or your other friends who may have baby faces because they're out clubbing every other night, abusing drugs or leading unhealthy lifestyles. And yet they don't age? Think about it. My dad is a doctor and has seen what substance abuse does to patients. Someone out clubbing every night who looks that good is undergoing plastic surgery for sure. And when you see it in real life, you can almost always tell. Lip fillers rest a certain way. Someone's nose job, with exceptions like Ashlee Simpson's because she saw a top doctor for that surgery type, is always going to look like a "good nose job."
Likewise with makeup. Almost half the makeup you see in magazines doesn't look good in real life. If anything, it often looks ugly. For makeup to look flawless in images as if Photoshopped, it needs to be like wall paint thickness. When you see many people without that amount of makeup on, they're less glamourous. They look like you or me. People who are regularly pretty in a human type of manner and don't resemble department store mannequins. And yes, a little drugstore teeth bleach goes a long distance as do good eyebrows.
Almost every woman can be made to look beautiful in the right setting, which is why I never understand why women like Melissa McCarthy get stuck with "fat girl" roles. When you dress a woman of any size in the right hair, makeup, and shapewear, she automatically looks good or at least a 7/10. Pair this up with being filmed and Photoshopped right. Oh yes. Did you know many films use CGI animation tricks to "Photoshop" live actors and actresses in big budget Hollywood films? People always act shocked when I mention that because they think magazines are the only digitally altered imagery in the media.
You can make me or anyone else appear buxom or stick thin with the right wardrobe, lighting and Photoshop also! Again, another reason why the pressure to make women lose weight makes no sense.
We need to stop shooting films as "real women" roles because I don't believe the majority of women are naturally ugly. The media teaches us that. Shows like HBO's Girls want us to think that and market "ugly" Lena Dunham doing "ugly fat girl" sex scenes as our reality. When really, if Lena Dunham put on some cute lip gloss, did her eyebrows sexy, posed at the right angles in pretty lingerie during her nude scenes, wore flattering clothes for her figure, didn't ruffle up her hair so much, used better lighting and put a simple inch of effort into this like all "real women" do going to work, we wouldn't see conversations on articles about her asking things like, "Who put this ugly girl on TV?" Because truthfully, all women are attractive when you showcase them as that way. Presenting yourself as the ugly version of yourself won't make you smarter or a feminist. You'll look like a slob and feel ugly. End of story. Please note this attitude isn't directed towards Miss Dunham but the entertainment media as a whole and the actresses pressured to make quick money by playing up that stereotype.
The only time I've ever seen a smart girl portrayed as beautiful is a movie from Spain called Tres Bodas de Más. A young woman played by Inma Cuesta studies lobsters at a marine biology lab. She is not once given the romantic comedy makeover. She wears cute makeup under her glasses and doesn't think of herself as ugly. Never before seen in a movie marketed towards women!
If only the media portrayed all women who are cleaned up so to speak meaning "styled" as attractive, which is how men view us, we might have less of a complex as individuals. Most men don't care if you are imperfect. The majority of people who stare at me or other girls I know do it when we are wearing basic workout pants or jeans and less makeup like mascara, lip gloss and a sheer foundation.
Modelling and acting agencies harass everyone to lose weight not so much for the aesthetic. The money involved in weight loss is grand. Agents frequently get a cut of whatever the personal trainer is charging you. I've had agents try to sell me their personal weight loss programs, videos and books they've written. They want to sell you a door to door food delivery service. When you do like I do and say, "My friend who's a summer Olympic athlete is giving me good food and workout tips he follows, and I'm thinking about working with a personal trainer at this gym who works with these popular celebrities," they blow their fuse on you. You can't try to get fit with anyone else. You can only do it with their own people because they take a profit from referrals. Please know if you're a young girl seeking a modelling agency, they are going to automatically tell everyone from every BMI to lose weight because of the money. Including women like an agent I knew who went on the TV news channel denouncing weight loss for models only to a week later bother me, "Why haven't you bought my fitness package yet?"
A lot of celebrities and models actually have really thin hair from eating disorders and rely on extensions. You'll see this probably almost every time. An A-list woman in all the magazines for her style when I saw her without her trademark extensions in the world thinks is her real hair had a drab, thin, sickly, blonde rat's nest. She is in magazines talking about her body and muscle tone. In front of me, I saw a frail looking woman with a very clear eating disorder, no muscle tone as Magazine say and obvious, unattractive plastic surgery dipping into Joan Rivers land. She was alone and sad with this face and look in her eyes like she cries often, seated with a stack of magazines with herself on the covers or within their pages — and all the pages pinned back to her. The world thinks she leads a life of fame and beauty. Here she was giving me an embarrassed look when I made a joke, "Someone loves magazines more than I do! I was about to get my own stack too!" until I realised who it was. And that she wasn't reading them for fun. This was her existence. All she probably does is worry about what she looks like, doesn't eat and does in these magazines, both the tabloids and the high fashion titles. And most of all, that she looks so unhealthy in reality surprised me.
I love makeup so much, doing my own hair, picking out skirts I buy in the mail, DIY extensions and things related to my appearance. As a female in this time period, the fact I do love all of this is dangerous to my mental health. I know this now. Before, not so much! What I try to do is look up to men in the world as career role models who are famous for their talents. Why don't I want to be like them instead? Because I want to double up on filmmaking and film score composing beyond only doing modelling with my cheesy goal of changing the world through my art. I love filmmaker Peter Jackson so much. He isn't famous for his body or face! All the film score composers who get nominated for Oscars every year, whether it's the standard guys like John Williams and Hans Zimmer, or the new standards like James Horner, John Powell, Dario Marionelli, Clint Mansell and so many. I love the idea of seducing people with your brain and personality.
Sure. Many skeptics can look at this and think I'm making it up. Really, I'm not. I love businessmen and celebrity chefs I know personally who make me say, "I wish I had a little bit of what they have." Some of the people actually are really handsome who I look up to. Some are not. What they've done is none of them are famous or successful primarily because of their looks. Talent comes first. And yes, oh yes, I personally find intelligence and talent really sexy. A secret of many rock stars is they aren't the hottest guys, but get them on a guitar jamming it up, have them telling jokes at the concert, have them look hot as what I call normal guy attractive. They suddenly become the hottest men ever to legions of fans.
I'm not skeletal runway thin cliche or plus size. I am very curvy but not a US size 000 waist curvy and US 14 everywhere else curvy like the new crop of celebrities. I'm a girl who might have been popular in the 1950's as an attainable type of curvy film star who works out a bit but now faces the challenge of getting work as a girl who faces neither of the two current trends: plus size or stick thin. And the third one we don't talk about called "fitspo," where women on Instagram try to come off like the most toned, yoga happy, fitness lovers who ever lived. I don't fit any current trends. Yet, what I consistently remind myself is, "These women my age might get a slew of work right now. In a decade, you'll be the one getting all of it because you'll be amongst the few who looks like a normal, healthy woman and that's going to sell. Everyone else will have carved themselves into supernatural hourglasses or permanently damaged themselves. The entertainment industry will see how wrong that is. And you'll be at the top getting all those big endorsements!"
I remind myself that any moments I've ever met someone I liked, they've met me in denim, dressing as I like, wearing makeup I like, looking how I want to look and ignoring the sea of women who've carved themselves and all dressed alike to resemble each other. Never when I've followed what past agents told me to resemble. The chemistry happens when I look as I want to be. Long, one length, dark hair. Made up not as a Kardashian or minimalistic Instagram girl but me, the inner 15 year old girl playing in her makeup drawer and begging makeup artists to show her how to do the makeup from the Louis Vuitton ad. Me, being super silly and at times goofy — I once pretended not to know how to use my cell phone in front of a Luke Skywalker lookalike when I was much younger — to where you can't believe I have the skills set and knowledge in my brain to program a website or compose music for a full orchestra. People who find you sexy will like you as you are.
Oddly, what I've found is, because I see the potential for some people to clean up well, many don't believe me when I say how handsome they are! They think, "She's probably saying that and doesn't mean it." "What if she's desperate? Someone dorky like me can't be handsome. I don't have perfect skin. I don't look like Tom Brady." Because when the rare moment strikes and I'm head over heels for some guy's beauty, it's never for someone who is the stereotypical hot guy. I love someone who is super smart, has the basics like a good face, doesn't know he's attractive, doesn't think he is, thinks I'm lying to him, and surprise, beneath that frat boy who never left his college days getup is a major Esquire Magazine Man of Style. As women, we tend to feel like this too.
Because please, women, know that trends for body types and face types come and go. Don't get rib removal in Tijuana like a number of female celebrities as it's illegal in the USA and massive butt implants to look "pretty" when ten years out, that won't be around. The Instagram model aesthetic we all compete with won't be here. No longer will we have the pressure to have the whitest or tannest skin extremes or the shiniest eyes that only come from FaceTune. Something else will live. You should be timeless. Work out. Eat right. Be yourself. If someone wants to hire you as a model, actress or anything visual, they will. They will look past the rules of skeletal this, body shape that and flat out hire you. Know that everyone is really nice and finds you "gorgeous" until you ask them if they'd ever hire you for a modelling job. Things turn downright nasty. I had a woman who is a makeup mogul deny she uses models for her makeup ads when I opened up a Vogue and saw live female models, as in humans, modelling her line. A male fashion designer told me after complimenting me, "No, my clothes are for beautiful women." He then couldn't find anyone to work for him and wanted me to walk his NYFW show for free — no pay for transportation, nothing — as he paid everyone else because he was very open on how he didn't find me attractive. I obviously didn't agree to that.
We have so much to talk about if we met and discussed this topic. Why don't we end like this? Know that you can look like almost anything you want within reason by how you style yourself, eat, fix your teeth with braces, bleach and/or veneers if like me your teeth bug you and work out. There's nothing wrong with you. The less extreme one looks, the more everyday people find you beautiful. Not one man in this world who isn't a total weirdo avoids a reasonably attractive, well dressed woman because she has an imperfect feature. If you must change something about yourself, like for our example here hair dye, stick to shades closer to your natural shade if you want more people to find you attractive. Nature doesn't mess up much. I've noticed this is what does best for many people pursuing entertainment work. Everyone thinks by changing into this super bleach highlighted, orange bronzed, skeletal, same old thing, that people like that. And all along, people might hire those people as flash in the pan work and who they want long term is someone like you: a young woman who looks beautiful because she isn't too extreme or unhealthy. One who looks like herself and not half of the girls trying to make it. Being skinnier isn't going to make you happier, famous or keep your husband. So much of how our world thinks is wrong. Please be yourself. All I have to say. One day, it might not be now or next week or maybe this year but one day, you'll make a lot of money in any profession and meet The One by being yourself. Don't hide your intellect or personality positives and flaws. Don't try to resemble someone else because she's getting all the work and you're not. Be that woman who changes it for everybody. It won't happen overnight.
Nicole Russin-McFarland is a model, film score/classical composer and newbie filmmaker excited about submitting her first cartoon short to film festivals likely later in 2017. Her audiobook acting credits include Chad Westbrook's Ninja Cat Volume 1.
Visit her website, , and follow her on social media at Twitter @ and