On Beauty

Monday, January 02, 2006

Last night, I watched a documentary on Arte about the notion of beauty in France. Different celebrities, mainly actresses, talked about how they were perceived as icons. You had Deneuve, Moreau, Marceau, Doillon, Mastroianni, Casta and Bardot, all in one show. Here's some things I remember (paraphrased except for Moreau, who I remember exactly):

My life wasn't mine anymore. I didn't have a life. Somebody would call me up and tell me to come to some party or dinner to meet someone. That someone thought I was something. And it made me afraid. What if I wasn't that something? What if I didn't have it? I was scared. I was terrified of disappointing because I didn't know what it is they wanted.

Chiara Mastroianni...
The French are ambiguous with what they want. They want you to be glamourous. They want you to be sexy. But if you do sexy or glamourous things, they turn on you and say you're doing too much. They are very ambiguous.

Catherine Deneuve
It's easy. When you're young that life is easy. You smoke, I still smoke, you drink, you see your friends, you sleep late. It's easy. When you get older, it becomes harder.

Jeanne Moreau: If you have to work at it, it's not beauty.

It's obvious Moreau was looking for the quotable line. But she has to work at that now since her looks are totalled. Funnily enough, I keep thinking I've heard that line before, from someone like Jerry Hall, or Sharon Stone, or something like that.

And me?
I like being a beautiful girl in France. It gives you power. A different kind of power than in North America because you don't really have to be some sort of superwoman and also have some sort of fabulous career. You can just smoke, drink, look mysterious and have a good time, which is easier than working. Nobody here likes to see you work, as Moreau so correctly pointed out.

The only real problem is that some women and men might dislike you, because you are who you are... beautiful. They'd like you to have some handicap, like being superficial, or supercilious, or just super-dumb. Well, it's the old story again: if you use your beauty to get what you want, you can expect people to slap you for it. But, that's bullshit as well because, if you're beautiful, it's not exactly a weapon you can put away. So, sometimes you get slapped for something you couldn't help, like a shrunken arm, or a mean overbite, and that's not very nice.

But, I don't worry too much about this because most of the time it's pointless. Some girls are bigger than others.