Professionally Pretty

celebrities are professionally pretty
I think that Jennifer Aniston is completely, 100% gorgeous. Pretty much all the time. I love her fantastically shiny hair, her classy, simple makeup, and her impeccable sense of style. And – on those days when I look in the mirror and feel puffy and disproportionate and downright horrendous, on those days when I just can’t seem to muster up ANY love for my own body – hers is the figure that I long to claim as my own. She’s got those gorgeously toned arms, fantastic skin with just a hint of year-round tan, strong flat abs, long slender legs, and a perfectly proportioned rack. It’s her body that I idolize, and sometimes secretly wish I could possess.

And on those rough days when I hit bottom and abhor my thighs and curse my arms for never toning up no matter how many bicep curls I do and loathe my entire physical self and wonder how much surgery it would take to make me into Jen … I force myself to remember that she is professionally pretty. It is actually part of her job to stay fit and tan and pimple-free, and if she doesn’t, she’ll lose work and lose respect and get absolutely lambasted by the tabloids. Jennifer Aniston has chosen a life path that requires her to rely on her natural beauty, but also one that requires her to maintain and enhance that beauty every single day.

Working out is part of her job. She likely does it daily, for several hours. Figuring out how to keep her amazing, sexy, mind-blowing figure as she ages is part of her job. She pays people to help her, and probably worries about it endlessly. Looking healthy and gorgeous at all times is part of her job. If she dares venture out to Starbucks looking haggard, rumors will fly.

I force myself to remember that Jennifer Aniston is professionally pretty, and two things come to light: One is that, if I had the time and resources and energy to work out for several hours every single day of my life, I would undoubtedly look MORE like Jen. Not exactly like her, of course, but a lot more like her than I do right now. The other is that I feel kind of lucky that looking pretty is a hobby for me. Because as envious as I get of the gorgeous bods that famous women possess, I feel enough pressure to stay thin and groomed and attractive and stylish as a complete unknown. I envy their results, but not their process.

We can’t help but compare ourselves to celebrities. They are our societal paragons of beauty and attractiveness. But we CAN make ourselves remember that their bodies are their livelihoods; They work constantly to look the way they do. And while keeping our own bodies healthy and strong is extremely important work, no one’s going to dock our paychecks if we put on a few pounds or flash a little cellulite at the beach.

I’ll probably always aspire to look a little more Jen-like. But I’m generally pretty glad that I’m not actually Jen. I’m an amateur pretty-ist, and that’s just fine by me.

Image via Gazette Review

Originally posted 2009-03-05 06:55:00.

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27 Responses to “Professionally Pretty”

  1. oh lady e

    Aaaand she spends more than my annual salary just maintaining that shiny, glorious Rachel hair. 🙂

  2. andrea

    You have no idea how much better that just made me feel today.

  3. Samantha

    I’ve gotta disagree on Aniston. If you look closely, she has got the beginnings of really awful, “old lady tan” skin, and she smokes like a stack. I am definitely with you on the professional prettiness, as I remind myself of that quite often, but I just can’t go with Team Aniston. Smoking alone means she doesn’t take the care of herself that she ought.

    …But I like the post. 🙂

  4. Casey

    Great point! 🙂 I’ve been reading a biography of a movie star (Ava Gardner), and it’s interesting to see how much effort is put into the “star system”–and I can imagine that it’s even more so today since the emphasis on physical fitness and perfection is even more draconian. In some ways, I honestly feel bad for celebrities sometimes–who wants to spend half their lives at a gym? lol. But that’s just me. hehe!

    But your post is right-on. 😉

  5. Big Sister

    Yeah, I’ve thought of that before, but you explained it very well. I also think that part of the reason these celebrities have such complicated personal lives may have something to do with the fact that so much of their life is about focusing on appearances. I just don’t think it can possibly be mentally healthy to spend so much time thinking about that. And this comes from someone who probably spends too much time thinking about clothes and makeup herself!

  6. Sheila

    I don’t hold myself in comparison to any celebrity, but I am really, really hard on myself and my looks. As you said to me, Sal, it’s reassuring to know others feel like you do: have your “bad” body image days.

    But you are gorgeous. Just thought you should hear that today.

  7. CompassRose

    As Samantha mentions, she smokes (probably because the biggest part of being Professionally Pretty in America is starving yourself, which she’s been doing for years). I’m also pretty sure she bought the rack; she was rather flat up until a couple of years ago, although I commend her for moderation in her purchase.

    As an ED survivor, I have to remind myself constantly of what it was like when being pretty – or at least, skinny and more or less fit – was my second job. It was hell, pure and simple, and I don’t even think being able to pay for trainers and chefs, or not having the day job, would make the essentials – the starving, the constant sub-grade exhaustion – any less hell.

  8. dapper kid

    The very fact that someone is a celebrity means that are required to look as perfect as well expect them to, and indeed they have to in order to get work. It is easy to think that look so much better than normal folk, but then again they do pretty much devote their lives to doing so. I’m sure given the resources and time we could all look stunning. Oh and her spread in this month’s Elle UK was fab 🙂

  9. Heather

    I am so glad I don’t have to be “Professionally Pretty”, I would be a basket case. Stylists of hair, makeup, and clothing don’t come cheap, and she uses their services OFTEN. I would love to know how much it costs to maintain a Hollywood body like that, not to mention the wardrobe, home, and cars that are expected to come with celebrity status. I think I am happen where I am!

  10. Cupcakes and Cashmere

    i too try to remind myself that being professionally pretty would be SOOO exhausting! i love cupcakes and i also like leaving the house in sweats on the weekends. i wouldn’t give those things up for the world!

  11. lisa

    “I envy their results, but not their process.”

    Truer words were never spoken! That’s exactly how I feel about gorgeous celebrities. 🙂

  12. spacegeek

    You are sooo right! The rest of us “mere mortals” have to hold down day jobs, take care of families, homes and husbands without the army of help. I am working these days on accepting my body for what it is “right now”. There were times in my past that I was a total hard body, and I still have fantasies that there will be that time in my future. But for now, that is just a dream and I need to accept who I am today.

  13. kittyscreations

    Love this post! I think I prefer prettiness as a hobby. I couldn’t take the pressure of having people judge my looks 24/7.

  14. Kate Coveny Hood

    I think about all of this so often… I guess everyone has to pay one price or another for their decisions. I think I’ll take the cellulite over the tabloids.

  15. joie

    i’ve never commented here before, but i just wanted to say how odd it was that you mentioned your arms not toning up. because JUST THIS MORNING i was looking at that picture you posted recently of yourself in the balck tank top and wishing my arms looked like yours. isn’t that funny?

  16. futurelint

    Good call! I’d love to look like Jen, but well, if I ACTUALLY had the chance to change places with her, I’d say no. I’m happy as little ol’ me (most days)!

  17. drwende

    I force myself to remember that she is professionally pretty.


    If I devoted… oh… 30 hours a week to hair, skin, and working out, I’d be pretty damned hot. Unfortunately, I have a j-o-b that requires some of those hours.

  18. Imogen Lamport

    So true – I’ve thought about this before – celebrities just don’t get a choice without it affecting their bank balance. At least we do! So much stress for them.

  19. fleur_delicious

    too true, lady! hear, hear!

    I remember reading on JK Rowling’s website a couple years back how lucky she felt to be paid for the work of her mind, not the size/appearance of her body. I was so struck by this and realized, you know, she’s right.

    Plus, I am totally broken out AND I didn’t shower today and I don’t know if my students even cared/noticed, in that order. And after lunch, I had some really good cake. Word.

  20. daddylikeyblog

    Such a great article, Sal–maybe my favorite so far!

    One time when I was a teenager, and Jessica Simpson was at the height of Newlyweds fame, I randomly burst into tears because I felt fat and gross and I wanted to look like her SO bad. My brother walked into the room as I was sobbing, and when I told him why, he said, “Her job is to look good. It’s the worst job in the world.” I’ve never forgotten that.

  21. Mervat

    What a great post! I will even get my soon-to-be-12 daughter to read. this.


  22. oh lady e

    Also, I forgot to point out… before she shot to fame on ‘Friends’, she was just an amateur pretty-ist like the rest of us (not as thin and toned, and with some pretty wacky hair), and there are quite a few photos to prove it. 🙂

    Although… at least she’s honest about the fact that she diets and works out a lot, unlike some other professional pretty people, who insist that they were born that way. LIARS! HUSSIES!

  23. CrankyOtter

    I’m a new reader of yours this month and posts like this, along with your fabulous fashion advice, will keep me coming back. Color me impressed.

    I moved to SoCal from Boston a couple years ago. It has been horrible trying to find a decent stylist. My general chant is “I live 40 minutes from where Jennifer Aniston hasn’t had a bad hair day in 12 years, how come I can’t get a decent cut?” And that would be money. I had a Fabulous $80 cut that was free with $120 for dye. But I could never afford to go back. I’m pretty sure JA pays in the neighborhood of $650 a pop for the hair.

    As to the upper arms, aside from acceptance, the BEST thing I’ve foud is a rotating adjustable hand weight called the BodyRev. You bicycle it with your hands, along with the other moves on the DVD and it’s fantastic for removing batwings, even on chunky women. You can get a max 8 or 10 pound version with removable weight so it’s for toning, not bulk, and relies on movement. It’s actually the inspiration for the Perfect Pushup from the same inventor – another professionally fit person. Google it, and check it out.

    Until then, thanks for the idea of looking pretty as a hobby to counter the idea of the professionals.

  24. enc

    I would really hate to be subject to the pressure Jennifer Aniston is under. She’s set a precedent that’s going to be difficult to uphold over time, but I hope she manages to do so for a long, long time.

  25. Nina (femme rationale)

    i’ve seen her in person…she was walking down melrose ave. w/brad pitt r(obviously, this was when they were married). i noticed brad first cuz he’s pretty tall and let’s face it, a cute guy. not realizing who he was, i looked at the woman next to him and realized it was jennifer aniston. can i just say, she is absolutely, drop dead, luminously beautiful in person. after seeing her in person, i realize she doesn’t photograph very well. doesn’t do her justice. and she had no makeup on and her outfit consisted of jeans, a tank, and flip flops. seriously, i couldn’t stop staring at her and she’s better looking than brad. and she’s even TINIER in person. since that day i’ve always thought of her as one of the most beautiful women ever. and her eyes are even more piercing up close.

  26. Shannon (A beautiful Dream)

    I read this post and it made my day. Then I read fleur_delicious’s comment and it made it even better!

    Also – I am team angelina all the way!