Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

In Defense of Beautiful Women

Beauty can have an ugly side and the fair faced don’t always ‘have it all’. I decided to talk to two former models that explained the challenges of being seen as just ‘another pretty face.’ 

When I turned 15 my body transformed.  My perm grew out, my glasses were cast aside, and my once gangly knee-scrapped legs grew curves. I also stopped going to Orchestra Camp, improving my popularity status.  Since that transformation period, how people viewed me also drastically changed.  All of a sudden people seemed shocked that I made honor roll.  Male attention, once so desperately coveted, now hovered thick in the air, suffocating me.


I know that having some semblance of attractiveness is a positive thing and to complain about it is like hissing that my golden shoes are too tight.  However, everything has a double edge.  You are never sure if a male business dinner invitation is really sincere.  You are assumed to have no opinions.  And most of all, you are wary of other women constantly judging you, looking for some way to tear you down.


However, I’m no supermodel.  Interested in understanding the trials of the truly beautiful, I decided to do what I do best: Interview them.


Hot Girls Have Can Game

Audrey currently works at a tech company where she manages accounts in the gaming space.  Previously the buxom Italian brunette had modeled on various art projects, one was a pop art semi-nude collection that made its way into Europe exhibitions.  She showed me photos where a bambi head covered her face and a pink frosted cake masked her breasts.


“Yeah, I cannot do that anymore.  I’d lose all my credibility working in tech!”


Since she no longer models, I asked her how she managed a model physique while working in a male dominated industry.


“I never know if I being taken seriously or if someone is trying to sleep with me,” Audrey confided.  “When I was in college a lot of older men offered to give me career mentoring.  You know, I’ve never had a woman volunteer to give me career advice. Ever.”


Even though Audrey had an education and worked hard to get her job, many were wary. They would ask ‘So how did you get your job-did you just show up in a pencil skirt and bat your eyes?’ ”


In reality Audrey had worn pants and little makeup to her interview.  But regardless of how ‘boring’ she dresses, she was still often seen as something to be obtained.


She mentioned that an ex supervisor would buy her tickets to exotic destinations.  She never used them. “I would never be that girl,” she said.


It isn’t just men that look at Audrey differently, so do women. “Girls always judge. If I am out with other people and I talk to a girl’s boyfriend they assume I am flirting and decide not to like me.  This always hurts my feelings – I never did anything wrong!”


Many men and women alike assume that because Audrey has looks, she cannot possibly also have brains. “One time someone said to me ‘Wow-that’s a really big word you used.’ I was so insulted. The word was ‘plethora’.”


Although work can be challenging Audrey said that it’s actually the walk there that is the worst. “ I wear earphones and sunglasses to drown out the catcalls.  Otherwise I feel so uncomfortable and picked apart. I will never understand the people that parade around in pink wigs saying ’look at me, look at me.’ I would never want to draw extra attention to myself.”


From Vietnam With Love….


Ha was a Vietnamese celebrity. She started modeling at age 17 and did so for 5 years before working her way into entertainment and building her own fashion brand.


The dark haired beauty described a life so glamorous I wondered why she ever wanted to leave it behind to come to the United States.


“I needed a change!” she said.  “I couldn’t be myself in Vietnam-I could never leave the house with a ‘naked face’ (no makeup) or people would talk saying I was uglier than on TV.  I wanted to be unknown.”


But most Vietnamese girls do not get a chance to leave and recreate a life for themselves. Ha was lucky that she was gifted with a strong family and an education to encourage her to stay true to her career. “Other uneducated girls start as a model and then get easily tricked into prostitution and drugs,” she said.


It sounds cliché but Ha admitted it was a real problem.  “A lot of girls come from the country and they have two choices-they can work in a factory or if they are pretty they can use their body to earn money, a career, and feed their entire family back at home. They are uneducated-they don’t understand.” For the poor, being beautiful and landing a job in prostitution can actually be a saving grace…with a catch.


Although Ha stayed clear of all model-prostitution traps, many times getting ahead still asked for ‘extra effort.’


“I was offered all these possibilities-I could be the next Miss Vietnam or the next cover girl for a brand…but it always seemed to involve sleeping with someone.  I had to stay strong.”


However staying strong didn’t always matter in a place where beautiful women were viewed objectively.


“Even though I went to the university and built up a business, people would always stereotype me as a model and think I had used my body to get places. None of it was true. I was always professional.”  Her almond eyes looked at me fiercely.


Interestingly, Ha said she actually had a harder time with women than with men. “I learned to keep my distance from men to protect my career. However with women it was harder. They would spread rumors.”


Although she still hosts a few Vietnamese shows in the US, Ha no longer models. She is instead getting a degree in fashion to build her business.

Audrey and Ha aren’t alone in their challenges.  Across the world beautiful women of all sorts are constantly judged negatively from both men and women.  Good looking female founders that receive a lot of funding are assumed to have slept with the VCs.  Attractive female scientists are often assumed to be less intelligent than their less attractive counterparts.  Why do we seem so intent on judging based on people’s exterior?  Is beauty a burden as much as a gift?


The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years. 
Audrey Hepburn 

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