Sometimes it’s hard work just looking at celebrities on the red carpet.
Wow, if that's your idea of hard work, you need to get out more. Tell you what, we'll start gently: I'll do the celeb-watching for you while you come over here & do the hoovering*. If that doesn't blow your mind, you can help me assemble some flat-pack furniture**.
* I haven't actually done the hoovering since about 2001.
** The flat-pack wardrobe has actually already been assembled with gratefully-received help from invisiblechoir. But there may be more to come!
The glitz, the glamour, the hair, the dresses…followed by the comparisons, the feelings of inadequacy, the despair when we look in the mirror and see ourselves - an ‘ordinary’ mum.
Well, speak for yourself. I see the "glitz" and think it's a bit tacky, to be honest. But if you enjoy looking at celebrities, then that's fine... but it doesn't sound like you do enjoy it all that much, if it makes you feel inadequate and despairing. Maybe you shouldn't watch it? I mean, I'm not saying there's necessarily a correlation here, but when I look in the mirror, I don't feel the need to compare myself to celebrities, & I don't feel inadequacy or despair (though I'm no stranger to either feeling in other contexts!). I don't even see "an ordinary mum": I just see myself. I know I'm not "just a mum", and I also know (after not quite a year of being a mum) that there's no "just" about being a mum.
But Netmums and My Special K think that behind every ‘ordinary’ mum is an extraordinary woman and so My Special K have devised a personalised slimming plan to help you look amazing for that special event, party or holiday that you have coming up.
I don't get it. Is this extraordinary woman behind me so tiny that you won't be able to see her unless I lose weight? If she's so extraordinary, why doesn't she just say "Excuse me, can I get past?" and come and stand in front of me? If the extraordinary woman is me, why do I need a personalised slimming plan? If I'm that great, then why do you think there should be less of me? If I'm so great, why don't I carry on being the extraordinary woman I am? And since when did "amazing" mean "thin"? And even if it did, how do you know I'm not already thin? I mean, at the moment (not that it's any of your business) I'm 5'1" and approximately a size 10. Could you clarify at exactly what point I'm supposed to feel despair for not looking like "celebrities"? Also, which celebrities am I supposed to want to look like? I mean, I'd have to grow an extra eight inches in height to look like most models, and I don't think even Special K (the world's most joyless breakfast cereal) can help me there.
If you look closely many of those same celebrities that we put on an unachievable pedestal are actually just ordinary mums too.
Oh. So remind me, why am I supposed to be emulating them with your special slimming plan? I thought being an "ordinary mum" was what I was trying to avoid by eating the cereals of self-loathing. (And less of the "we" there. I don't put celebrities on a pedestal.)
Yes they’ve been preened and primed for the red carpet event you see them at, but do you think they look like that when their toddler jumps on their head at 5am?
Well, no. But then I'm not looking in the mirror when my baby jumps on my head at 5am, and I look better in the day than I do at 5am too. I'm losing track of how this comparison is meant to work.
So don’t despair,
I wasn't before I started reading this. Now I am actually starting to despair, but not for the reasons you think I am.
first step is to sign up to My Special K’s fantastic personalised slimming plan and then let’s investigate how those celebrities do it and what can we learn from them.
Look, I'm not a scientist, but I reckon you've got those steps the wrong way round. If we want to look like celebrities, why not investigate how they do it first and then see if we can do the same? Hint: they spend shitloads of money on their looks and/or have armies of people to do their hair, their makeup, their nails, their clothes. They almost certainly don't eat Special K. I reckon if you gave me a million pounds to spend on all that stuff I could make myself look like a celebrity without any additional help from a cereal that tastes like cardboard.
1. Making the most of your assets
Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have hair like Penelope Cruz, or lips like Gwen Stefani? Ever noticed how celebrities always draw attention to their best feature? Whilst Penelope Cruz can most often be seen cruising the red carpet with shining, flowing locks, Gwen Stefani is rarely seen without her signature flash of red lipstick. So whether it’s your eyes or your thighs, identify your best asset and learn to make a feature of it.
My best features... well, that's a tricky one. Off the top of my head, in no particular order, I'd rate: my capacity for love; my writing; my musicality; the speed with which I learn new things. I find it hard to define some of the things I'm good at but they're definitely there. I've made a feature of these things by spending my time doing things other than staring in the mirror feeling miserable because I don't look like a celebrity.
Also, I'm now wondering how Penelope Cruz would cruz (ha!) the red carpet without her shining, flowing locks. I guess she could shave it all off and then her hair could come along later in a different Rolls-Royce and someone could roll it along the red carpet on its own. Or she could wear a very big hat.
There's also the possibility that e.g. Gwen Stefani's signature flash of red lipstick functions a bit like Clark Kent's glasses in reverse, i.e. when you see her without her signature flash of red lipstick you don't realise it's Gwen Stefani, so in fact you do see her without it all the time, but you don't see her without it. She might be standing right next to you RIGHT NOW. (Made you look.)
2. Work those curves
Quite often when we become mothers our bodies change and we don’t know how to dress our new curves. Take note of the likes of Kate Winslet, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Hudson and Holly Willoughby and embrace your curves. There’s nothing sexy about hiding under a black sack. Buy a dress (red is always good!) that clings to all the right places, add a plunging neckline and a little attitude and you’ll be red carpet ready in no time.
Hang on, a minute ago we weren't supposed to have curves, we were supposed to be slimming! Now we're supposed to be working our curves! Make your mind up, guys!
Also, I think there's some middle ground between "hiding under a black sack" and wearing a figure-hugging red dress with a plunging neckline, and it's the middle ground in which most of us live most of the time (thank goodness, otherwise every party would be like a version of The Matrix in which the teenage boy who made the woman in the red dress had been allowed to design all the female characters, and they'd all come at you like the excellent bit in the otherwise-appalling second Matrix movie where the army of Agent Smiths (Agents Smith?) attacks Neo, and you'd have to fight them off with super-fast bullet-time karate moves, BLAM! KAPOW! ... and that would get tiring after a while).
And furthermore, a) red is not always good, e.g. if you have red hair; and b) I bet there are people out there who think hiding under a black sack is pretty sexy, because of rule 34.
3. Never underestimate good underwear
I'm losing the will to live here, but let's go on:
Celebrities know the power of good underwear. You’d be hard pushed to find a celebrity that doesn’t love Spanx. Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba and Brooke Shields have all publically declared their love of spanx and Kim Kardashian even stated that ‘Spanx are my best friend!’
I thought they were supposed to work their curves, not use corsetry to get rid of them? (Also, if we're going to wear the bodyshapers anyway, why bother with the cardboard-only slimming diet?) Also, I already have a best friend, and she's way more interesting than a pair of control pants (also way more interesting than Kim Kardashian).
It doesn’t stop at the bottom half though.
Underwear usually doesn't, unless you're a waitress in a topless bar.
A good bra is essential and can take pounds off your silhouette. Make sure you get a fitting done before parting with your money though – figures show that approx. 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size – and you can be sure it’s not the celebrities!
OK, this advice is fine. Get a bra that fits. It's more likely to take pounds off your bank balance than off your silhouette, but it will also help prevent boobache and backache, and that's got to be a good thing.
4. Time to make-up
Of course whilst celebrities have their own army of stylists, hairdressers and make-up artists the rest of us have to make do with our own talents on that special night. So why not learn a few extra tricks of the trade? If you’re not confident in the art of make-up go to someone who is and ask for a little help. You may be lucky enough to have a friend who could give you a quick lesson, but if not head to the cosmetic floor at one of the big department stores and ask for some assistance. The women working there are normally only too happy to help, especially on the quieter mid-week mornings, and purchasing their goods is not a requirement.
And I guess this advice is fine if you want to do the makeup thing. (I've always made do with my own talents on any "special night", and I've, ahem, never had any complaints about my talents.) Just so long as you know that the tangerine-faced No. 7 ladies in Boots aren't actually going to make you look like Kate Winslet.
Win a makeover for you and a friend!
Netmums are also delighted to launch our fabulous ‘Nominate a Mum’ competition. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who has lost their confidence since becoming a Mum?
Oh, Netmums. With inspirational advice like this article, how could any mum lose her confidence?