I was saddened this week by an article I read about a new youtube trend involving young girls who post videos of themselves asking viewers, mostly boys, to tell them if they look pretty. [Pretty Or Ugly?] This speaks volumes about our culture. It also reveals how blurred the lines of reality have become, especially in the world of entertainment. If I reconstruct your features in Photoshop and remove those love handles, is that really you? [Photoshop Makeover]. If I tune your vocal so hard that it starts to sound good and you leave the studio thinking it’s how you really sound… does this become your reality?
On Chasing Nashville this week, Helena began exploring a new look that might better define who she is as an artist. This is where I’d like to draw the distinction between three things: entertainment, personal responsibility and the look.
On the surface, Helena is perfect just the way she is but understands that if she’s going to entertain, she needs to work on her stage presence. Why? Because entertainment is just that… entertainment and it comes with certain expectations.
Being entertained allows us to escape to a new reality and the “reality” of show business is a completely different operating system. Ever wonder why some entertainers are weird and insecure? Well it’s always been clear to me. Opinions are formed everyday about musicians, actors and entertainers in general, that can either catapult us into stardom or send us to the back of the line and often our physical appearance is the deciding factor.
A few years ago, a producer said to me, as he evaluated my 14 year old artist who wore braces, It will be interesting to see if she shows too much gum after her braces are removed. Forget about the fact that her voice was undeniable. Fortunately, her gum-to- teeth ratio did not keep her from becoming successful as she sang on a regular basis in large venues filled with thousands of screaming kids.
We connect with artists for different reasons aside from the music. To ignore the physical component would be disingenuous. If Justin Bieber had my hairline, I doubt he would be the heartthrob he is. Stars, whether we like to admit it, represent something bigger than ourselves. Their ability to motivate and influence us can be profound… for better or worse.
I’ve yet to meet one person in the entertainment industry who wasn’t insecure to some degree, despite their level of success. In fact, more success often amplifies our insecurities and weirdities, which is why I work hard to help young emerging artists to keep a good perspective. Understanding this can mean the freedom to move forward and through whatever is before us. How we present ourselves says a lot about our music and who we are as individuals but when that becomes the basis of our self-worth, it can have a devastating effect on our lives as we grow older and success begins to wane… and it will.
As you continue to “find your look”, try to see yourself from a birds-eye view to obtain a better perspective and remember, the real beauty lies within!
Be sure to check out next week’s episode of Chasing Nashville, Tuesday, November 5th at 9pm CST on The Lifetime Network.