“Be yourself. The world worships the original.” Ingrid Bergman

Stand out from the crowdThis piece of advice is rarely heeded  and yet it makes absolute sense. Granted we are constantly bombarded  by the media, from magazines to radio to television,  telling us what to wear, what is “in now”, what to buy.  We are given  instructions about everything  from bags, to dresses, to coats, even down to the smallest details,our fingernails. And when you go shopping, well more often than not, despite the number of shops you enter, everything on offer is the same. In fact the only difference is the price tag. So in reality you can either spend a lot or a little to look just like everyone else. Now it may be a universal truth that for  teenagers  this is an unwritten rule  lest they stand out from the crowd which can attract unwanted attention. However my peers and I are waay past the high school years or  taunts in the hallways and yet I find evidence everywhere to suggest that this mentality still persists. I concede  it is  terribly convenient to simply walk into a shop and for someone else to have done the work of putting together your wardrobe, however it’s also a bit lazy and destructive. Why look like everyone else? Do you care so little about your own unique identity that you choose to add yourself to the army of many. The many wearing the same jacket, the same shoes, the same trousers, even the same nail polish for crying out loud. When Bergman first arrived in America to see if she could transfer her Swedish success to Hollywood, there were those who wanted to make some changes, some adaptations so she would look more American to the audience. She refused pointing out that such alterations would defeat the purpose. Naturally she was proved correct as Intermezzo, her first American film, became an enormous success and made her a star overnight. She came and left America, she had only come over to make that one movie, the same girl “with light brown hair and blue eyes who was painfully shy but friendly, with a warm, straight, quick smile.” The girl who had chosen not to wear the heavy makeup worn by most actresses of the time, instead opting for a more natural look. Her deliberate choices to swim upstream worked.  Her career was a highly successful one; she is ranked  the 4th greatest female star of American cinema by the American Film Institute and earned multiple Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Emmys. And she was adored by her public, and although her private life gained her some bad publicity at one point, her honesty and admission of being ‘ merely human’ kept her worshiped by millions. And this is what is important, by refusing to simply be yet ‘another overly made- up carbon copy’ or ‘another scorned woman who slinks away under the cover of darkness and shame’,   she succeeded in carving out an amazingly successful career and  leading a truly original life. So even if it just with baby steps, make that decision to step away from the uniform of the hordes and be yourself, an original.

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