Thursday, April 22, 2010

Autobeautyography: more on the genre


If you've arrived here after reading my piece on Jezebel perhaps you're new to autobeautyography.  That's my name for the genre of literature created when eccentrics, often famous eccentrics, set out to write a helpful how-to on skin care, diet  and makeup tips, and building a wardrobe that works, and end up writing their life story by revealing insecurities and deeply weird habits, confessing various secrets and betrayals, and perhaps letting a giddy need for attention push them too far.  These books were my secret pleasure for most of my life.

Now with blogs and reality television, it seems to me that autobeautyography is everywhere.  Nearly everyone wants to show the world their underwear and share their disordered diet tips.  Everyone has become their Own Grandchild.  Sadly books by today's eccentrics are often overly ghost-written and slickly produced, safely devoid of personality.

But perhaps you're familiar with a certain autobeautyography in the form a e-mail newsletter?  It has all the makings of a classic.  The author insists the tips within are there to inform and help, but GOOP's appeal seems to lie only in the personality and attitudes revealed.  A book is inevitable!

I have to be honest here.  It is difficult for me to even mention GOOP, and believe you me, I have wanted to for quite some time.  But I have a complicated, if albeit distant, relationship to Gwyneth.  I have always loved to watch her on screen.  It's her face.  I could watch that face watch paint dry, as they say.  That news letter fascinates me in that it is much like reading her write paint dry.  Does this make any sense?

Anyway, welcome new readers!  All the links above will take you to some of the best autobeautyographies from my collection.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Greatest Hits: Go For the Complete Finished Look

This is Megan. She modeled for Carole Jackson's 1987 follow-up, Color Me Beautiful MakeUp Book. She is featured here just in case her loved ones haven't been giving her enough crap about this for the past twenty-one years. Megan is a perfectly lovely woman under the hair and all, but if she was my friend, I'd dress up like that every Halloween to lovingly torment her.
The makeovers in this book seem to run on the theory that one should use every color of their personal seasonal palette on their face every day.


"I urge you to go for the complete finished look. A dash of hurriedly applied blush and lipstick is OK for the tennis court, but for the rest of life, it's not enough. Whether at the office, a party, or among friends and family, you're cheating yourself from looking your beautiful best if you don't take the few minutes it requires each morning to achieve a natural but but "complete" look. You'll look more polished, more elegant, more professional, and you'll feel better about yourself too. You deserve all the compliments that come your way!"

At left, Nancy has gone overboard with under-eye concealer, but displays stunning hair and earring geometry.

The eighties were astounding in the sheer amount of makeup applied. Soon, I'll do a post on cheekbone contouring alone. 



Breaking: I just tried to access Carole Jackson's site for more research and received the following error message: Your page is blocked due to a security policy that prohibits access to category Glamour & Intimate Apparel. I'm using the wireless at a cafe, but clearly I can never write here again. Approximately 60% of the sites I visit probably fall under that category. You know how often I write about underwear.

(originally posted August 2008)