“I’d rather lose a good earring than be caught without make-up.” Lana Turner
Lana Turner, the original “sweater girl” was incredibly beautiful. It was her beauty that put her on the path to stardom when she skipped class to go to a nearby drugstore and buy a Coke. There she was spotted by the publisher of The Hollywood Reporter,who was so enamored of her looks he referred her to talent agent Zeppo Marx who signed her up immediately. The rest, as they say, is history. She went on to become an Academy Award nominated actress, proving ultimately that not only had she the looks, but she also had the talent. Granted her fame will probably always rest upon that beautiful head rather than her acting chops but she did at least try to take roles that didn’t always rely upon or play up her looks . But once the studio could make money from her pin-up status they were not going to lose or risk her earning power by having her play roles that hid or didn’t exploit her looks. Her turn as the femme fatale in The Postman Always Rings Twice has won her legions of both film and film noir fans, myself included, but the part the character she plays called for a rather more dowdy, frumpy actor. A woman likely to be caught on a regular basis without make-up. But given that the first time we encounter Turner in the film is when she or rather her lipstick roles across the diner floor and she appears in the doorway, mirror in hand awaiting the young drifter to pick up her lipstick and return it to her. He does, sorta, and then she stands there, as she slowly and very deliberately applies the lippy clad in her oh-so-sexy pumps, shorts,bratop and turban. From this first moment on it is very obvious that this woman is anything but dowdy and frumpy. That this woman, like Turner, would rather lose a precious jewel than be seen by anyone without her ‘face’ on. And yet make-up, no matter how well it is applied, still only works on that which is already given to us. So just how different we look without it on is really a matter of perception. There is no doubt in my mind that Ms Turner looked incredible bare faced with what she put on it only serving to enhance this beauty. And yet she never left the house unless she was made up. And she is not alone. The recent phenomenon of women taking and posting a no make-up selfie to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society demonstrates that for many many women the idea of presenting themselves to the world au natural is one only to be considered if for charitable purposes or done as a dare for said charity. It was hugely successful raising over half a million euro so far, and this for something that wasn’t even an official ICS sponsored campaign! It is great that so many women volunteered or took the friend nomination and it is great that a lot of money was raised for an extremely worthwhile cause. However what was a little disconcerting was just how big a deal it was for some to be seen in all their naked glory. In fact many I think would have preferred to be shot in all their naked glory, so long as they had their ‘face’ on. I’ll be honest I find such an attitude quite intriguing. And since even a beauty like Ms Turner felt this way it obviously has nothing to do with actual beauty or good looks. I’m not convinced it is a confidence issue, Ms Turner never once expressed any concerns in that department unlike some other blond bombshells. It might for some people be the adult version of the safety blanket, some unresolved security issue lurking in their past. Or it may simply be a control thing -when we wear make-up our face looks exactly as we want it to look; and if we know how to apply it correctly and expertly, we can control and change everything even down to the very shape of our face. Without make-up, we are subject to the whims and fancies of fickle Mother Nature. And that is something, I believe, is huge matter of contention for many people. There are after all not too many things we have control over so when an opportunity presents itself then some people, rightfully, grab it. I do not wear make-up on a daily basis and if I’m honest found the whole no make-up selfie craze a little difficult to comprehend. What was the big deal? But then after viewing shot after shot, I realised just how many faces are made-up on a daily basis, faces I had assumed were make-up free. Boy some of these women have the whole no-make-up make-up look down to a fine art! Most looked just fine without anything on their face, in fact almost the same, just a little less patchy or red. But I guess that’s the point. When they are made-up, they look perfect – even skin tone, no Rudolph impersonations when the temperatures drop. Me? I’m still someone who hates losing an item of jewelry even if it has only come from Penny’s.