So… Miss Naked Beauty then!
Last night after getting in from the gym then eating a large bowl of spaghetti, it was finally time for the Gok Wan show everyone is talking about. I watched Miss Naked Beauty with some trepidation at first, as admittedly I had had my doubts about it and didn’t want Gok Wan to let me down. But I am most relieved to say - he didn’t.
One of the main reasons I was pleasantly surprised at Miss Naked Beauty was because the girls who auditioned were only told they were trying out for an ‘alternative’ beauty contest - not one that involved feeling beautiful in their natural state.
It was wonderful to see so many confident women of all shapes and sizes standing up on the stage proclaiming why they were happy with themselves, regardless of the myriad ways in which they differed from ‘mainstream’ ideals of beauty. They had grown to accept and love themselves as they were - which is the only way you can ever really be beautiful. Of course, as you might expect from women who entered themselves into a beauty contest, there were also plenty of women who wouldn’t look out of place in any conventional beauty show, who didn’t really have a whole lot ot come to terms with.
After this fabulous show of confidence and inspiring words I was quite amazed at how some of them broke down when they had to remove every scrap of make-up. It seemed that for some their confidence was washed away with the foundation, mascara and lippy. Two women shown could hardly bear to look at themselves in that state - truly a sorry state of affairs for women who have just been marching down Blackpool pier in their bikinis, spouting about self-confidence.
Miss Naked Beauty contestant Lucinda, after the make-up comes off
Lucinda with and without the make-up
And this is why I think the show is great. These women who clearly have confidence issues they never knew they had are going to have to get used to their natural sides and learn to love them. Even if the show doesn’t inspire other women to follow suit (though I believe it will) it’s already been a good thing for these women.
The show’s not perfect. I would have liked to see a few more plus size girls in the final 12 (I don’t think any of them are bigger than a 14). Doing a quick skim of the forums this morning a few people seem irked that the finalists are too conventionally beautiful. I however think they just look… well… normal. The kind of women you see walking down the street every day, which I think is what the show is aiming for. They want contestants women can identity with. They could have tried to challenge people conceptions of ‘beauty’ further, definitely, but it’s a big step in the right direction. And, after all the show is still called Miss Naked Beauty and they have always said that looks will play a (small) part - though perhaps a slightly bigger part for Loaded founder and judge James Brown!
A few blogs and forums have said that it might have helped if co-host Myleene didn’t look quite so meticulously made-up when consoling the blubbing newly make-up free contestants. Admittedly I did shout ‘well take your make-up off then!’ at the TV screen at this point (waking my other half from his snooze on the sofa) but perhaps after she spent however many weeks au naturel in the jungle this is a bit harsh.
I also don’t think all those ‘blink and you don’t quite miss them’ graphic naked boob shots were strictly necessary, (I hope I haven’t just encouraged a bucket load more spam with that line) but I’ll put that down to Channel 4’s ‘creative’ editing. Mind you Gok does love his bangers!
Next week’s episode looks to be a corker. The taster of what’s to come showed the amazonian gothic goddess Dawn yelling down a megaphone to other women in the middle of a busy high street so I’m pretty intrigued to find out what that’s all about. Defintley not the image of a demure beauty queen!
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised when it came to Miss Naked Beauty. If you had asked me whether I thought women really need any kind of ‘beauty ambassador’ I’d be inclined to say no. But if it’s a tough, intelligent, confident woman bursting with personality who’s out to inspire women to accept themselves and be happy the way they are, in today’s climate - then yeah actually, I think that’s a pretty good thing.
Images from here.