Do Looks Matter?

So, I’m not traditionally beautiful. Not at all. My body has curves, wonderful and complicated. I have clear skin and unique eyes but my hair has been a million different colors and my clothes never quite fit right.

Over time, I have figured out who I am.

The look: classic, very Mad Men, like Joan with a Peggy vibe. I wear pearls. I dress in black, grey, green, blue. I have a palette. I wear black heels or boots. I own many cardigans. I wear tights.

I love hats and look spectacular in them. I take that to my grave. In fact, bury me in a hat.

You know girls with the “less attractive friends”. That was never me. If anything I was perpetually, “the friend”.

I have been lucky to have some beautiful women to surround myself with since high school, grammar school. I’m still friends with most of them in fact.

I am attracted to women who own themselves, not just their good looks.

But when you are not the belle of the ball, what does that mean career-wise?

Well…everything. And nothing.

I would be the head of the class, but never the prom queen.

My parents knew this early on and trained me for it. Use you brain, don’t count on beauty. I was armed.

My sister is gorgeous. Beautiful figure, huge brown eyes, big smile, Emily Joy (my only sibling) was bound to win in this category.

And yet, in middle school, I competed in beauty pageants. Odd, right?

Nope. I aced each interview and walked my curvy body with confidence through every category. I was there for the scholarships, not the swimsuit competition.

I loved Madonna growing up, which taught me, you don’t have to be traditionally beautiful to be strong and desired.

So that’s what I went with. Own what you’ve got.

It didn’t always work.

I have had the heartbreak of the unrequited love. Boys who told me, “You’d be cute if you lost 20 pounds.”

I have lost job opportunities because I was told, “You have a great brain but we need the right look.”

Do I wish I were thinner? Yes. But not for those boys or those jobs. I wish it for simple reasons.

I want to wear a suit, a nice suit. But I would need to have one custom fit.

I want to buy a cocktail dress…anywhere and not have to worry about looking “cheap”. (Spoiler alert, I have a bust.)

I wish I could have walked into every interview, every presentation and not have to be concerned they’d see me as “that chubby girl”.

I have been on every diet. And I continue to strive to exercise and be healthy.

But I wish I could guarantee they’d listen to what I had to say and think, “She was kind” or “She was smart” or “She got what we were saying” or best case, “Something about her…she gets it”.

And isn’t that enough?

So every time I meet someone new, or pitch a new client, or make a new friend, I hope they will see who I am, not just what I look like.

Because, despite growing up and thinking I was never going to be the prettiest girl, I did know, I was something pretty damn special. And I could be useful, regardless of my dress-size or facial structure.

Beauty will fade. You are you forever.

So go on and be yourself. There is something beautiful in every damn one of us.

Own who you are. You are worth every penny.