Why I took my clothes off on national television
Watch the video above: Blogger Denise Jolly’s “Be Beautiful” campaign features photos of the bodyweight-conscious blogger stripped down to her underwear, with motivational phrases written on her body. Inspired by her campaign, we decided to put the same challenge to The Morning Show team (both behind, and in front of, the camera).
Let’s be honest, you never see real life depicted on the screen.
Almost anyone who spends any time getting photographed or being filmed, also spends an inordinate amount of effort trying to look good.
Hours are spent getting make-up, styling clothes, learning angles (it’s the reason why everyone makes the same pose on the red carpet) and of course looking thin.
Thin is the holy grail.
And not just thin but camera thin. No roundness, no shortness, no folds, no flabs. This messaging comes at us like hurricane-force winds. You can’t avoid it.
At some point we all have a moment of insecurity in which we think: I am too fat. Or too ugly.
If you’re on TV, five days a week, three and a half hours a day, those moments multiply. It caught me by surprise.
I always felt like I was too laid back to care too much about how I look or how thin I was. But sure enough, after two years of doing a daily TV show, I was regularly asking and telling myself: is my face too round? Are my arms a little chubby? I’m too short. I wish I had a flatter stomach. Can you contour some cheek bones? Is my hair too big, too messy, too short, too long.
Then, I got pregnant. Amidst all the excitement, I worried about getting fat on TV.
It’s a ramble that goes on mostly in my head but it’s annoying and exhausting nonetheless. Unchecked, it’s dangerous. I already spend half an hour in makeup everyday. I go to the salon three times a week. I get facials. I work out. In healthy doses, it’s not a big deal. It’s part of the job, I tell myself.
But for the first time, I understood how these routines could turn into an obsession.
The reasonable part of me knows I look fine. Most women look fine. And yet, we all go to extreme lengths to look a certain way. We want to measure up. Who doesn’t? But what happens when the measuring stick is not only dangerously unattainable, but distorted.
It takes hours and a village for someone to look good enough to be on TV. And yet, we all walk around like what we see on screen is real life. It’s not right.
In a small way, taking this picture is admitting that’s true. It’s also admitting, that in some small way, I know I contribute to that problem by showing only one aspect of myself on-air, all the time: the one who spends half an hour in make-up, wearing clothes often picked with the help of a stylist, in studio lights that cost a fortune.
While it’s scary to bare any amount of skin, it’s even scarier to know that by not showing real life on screen, we pretend it doesn’t exist.
Taking a photo with little clothes, no makeup and regular lighting (gasp!) isn’t a fun thing to do. But it is a reminder to myself and maybe others, to snap out of these unreal expectations we set for ourselves.
Reality looks just fine. And we shouldn’t be afraid to show it.
© 2013 Shaw Media