In today’s world of online everything, there is so much light and love, but there also can be so much darkness and deception. You see, online we have the ability to present and promote just about anything. And many actually believe what is being presented to them. In so many ways, that can be awesome, but in other ways, it can be debilitating and impact people’s esteem.
What am I talking about? Perspective.
There are millions of images being shown to us each day. Some are real, and some not so much. And my question is… Is that a good thing or a bad thing? And my answer? Both.
The Magical “But I’m Sick” Selfie
Recently, I was asked to provide a head shot for an event. Which normally I would simply email my go-to black and white head shot most of you have seen on my website and social media, taken by my awesome friend Anne Slattery, and one that I did not have much makeup on and for sure no filters. It’s real. Wrinkles and all. And I love it. But this request was for a color head shot, which I did not have, and they needed it within 24 hours. OMG, what the hell was I gonna do?
On that particular day, I was battling a nasty cold, and the last thing I wanted to do is take a damn picture of my snot nose face. But as any awesomeness creator does, we step up and show up. So I put my big girl panties on, scrubbed my face, put on a shit ton of makeup (which I hardly ever do), called in #teamawesome, and said “lets do this”!
Makeup + Ringlights + Filters Oh My!
With packed on makeup, a fake smile (remember, I was sick!), a ring light and a Snapchat filter (the one that removes all trace of any flaws on our faces, which I call the good self esteem filter), we began shooting. About 25 pictures which were mostly selfies. And then I was done. What little energy I had was zapped from my body.
We took those pics and began to filter them even more, using whatever editing apps were going to create the most magic, and like magic, we had our final pic.
I don’t think I have ever received more feedback about the pic we took that day. I mean, it was like I had just finished a shoot for the cover of Vogue. “Nina, you look beautiful. Nina, those lashes. Nina, the light in your eyes, Nina….
And while I was so grateful for those beautiful words, it made me immediately think about the insane pressure we put on ourselves to look “perfect” on social media. To present “perfect”, to edit to “perfect” and to compare to “perfect”. And the fact it, most of what we see is just smoke and mirrors. Like the Wizard. Like my new head shot.
Yes, it’s me. Yes, I know I am beautiful, inside and out. But don’t get it twisted; it is not what I look like everyday. Not even close. I am two months from 50. I have wrinkles. My skin tone is not even. My lashes are extensions. And with a cold, I look even worse. And that is what is real.
Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
Now let me be clear, there is NOTHING wrong with using the awesome tools and technology available to us to present our best self and our best work. It’s awesome, and I love it. BUT, where it becomes dark and destructive is when we believe it’s actually real. Like 100%. And we begin comparing ourselves and our work to what we see on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
In addition to that, please remember that most of the time, people only present what they want you to see. And we make things up in our heads as to what we believe to be true. Follower counts do not equal paying the bills. Pretty head shots do not equal being successful. And beautiful work does not mean you have a full clientele.
My promise as a human and a brand is to always be honest and authentic. Why? Because I am in the empowerment business. And empowerment comes from within. Empowerment comes when we own our awesomeness, wrinkles and all.
So by all means use the lights, the filters, the lashes, the makeup, the apps, all of it. But please, be honest with yourself and others. And stop comparing your behind the scenes to others highlight reels (or selfies, or head shots or work, or claims, or follower counts, or…).
Love + Awesomeness-
PS: Wanna share Snap stories? I’m passionsquared, I would love to connect with you!