On the plane to Singapore on a little family trip, I had a conversation with my mother about beauty and what is sexy today. I asked, “If a young Alma Moreno were to try to become an artista today, would she make it?” We shared a little pause, and had a good think about whether or not this sweet, expressive, faintly mustachioed face on a shapely, though stubby body would have a chance against today’s slew of half-blood, expertly modified starlets, and our answer was a resounding no. Though perhaps infinitely more talented than many of the girls on TV today, she just wouldn’t cut it, not without a lot of surgery, or perhaps a Caucasian father. I thought about my sister, cousins, and girl friends, and the increasingly difficult world they must live in; just how much will it cost today’s Filipina to get ahead of the pack?
Trends come and go, and for women, the body shape en vogue seems to change as often as the ideal toe shape for high-heeled pumps. The flat-chested, narrow-hipped, and even narrower-waisted waif seemed to be the look while I was in college, when short shorts were a thing for a little too long in our tropical country. This then progressed to a fitter, more yoga-instructor type body, and then boobs came into fashion with Lara Stone and the like, and today, everybody seems to idolize an impossibly curvy look with a super booty holding up a tiny waist covered in toned baby abs. Some are lucky, college waifs who seem to have blossomed into womanhood, their own hormones providing the natural enhancement that they desired for their gifts. Others seem to feel left behind, forcing their stocky, but strong legs into skinny jeans, dabbling in crop tops with their guts just almost spilling over. And others take matters into their own hands, modifying their bodies with long hours at the gym, or a few under the knife.
Body Pegs Through The Years: Kate Moss, Lara Stone and Kim Kardashian
(Photos from Getty Images)
We all know that a great body is nothing but a pedestal for a sexy face. Filipinas the world over are becoming increasingly obsessed with skincare and makeup. What’s hot in beauty now all seems to be an offshoot of the Kardashian Kontour—strong brows on a sculpted forehead, high cheekbones, an elegant nose, full lips, and a tapered chin—all achievable with a basic knowledge of light and shade and a couple of bottles of foundation in shades that don’t quite match your skin tone. My fascination with this look extends beyond the novelty of being able to virtually perform surgery on your face with just a couple of hours on your dresser chair; there’s a celebration of strength in the way women sculpt their faces today. I suppose it ties back to the origin of this makeup technique—originally developed by drag queens and trans women to create a hyper-feminized look on their naturally masculine faces, it’s amazing how women can take a cue from this perpetually marginalized group of people and celebrate the strength of their beauty with the weapons in their makeup kit.
57th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals - Axelle/Bauer-Griffin Film Magic
Let me end this little musing by gazing at Jane Fonda in Balmain at the last Grammys. In an of-the-moment slinky emerald jumpsuit, a questionably large gold fringe necklace, and her signature feathered hair, she looked fantastic, and didn’t really seem to try to be anything other than herself. At age 77, she was still relevant. Does she diet and exercise like a Nazi? Probably. Has she had work done? I’m sure. Would she be as fabulous if not for her long and successful career in the industry? Probably not. My dear Pinays, the new sexy is never going to stay, and the look du jour will change even before you can say “Break The Internet.” You have my full support putting in those extra hours at the gym, or at work, so you can finally afford that procedure from Dr. Aivee, blow your paycheck on makeup, just don’t you ever go losyang, because being relevant is always going to be the new sexy.
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Collage by Yayay de Castro