Putting On Your Writing Face

Did everyone catch the Internet meme started in the wake of the Oscars by author Laura Lippman? Following the widespread criticism of octogenarian actress Kim Novak’s appearance during the awards ceremony, Lippman posted a picture of herself without makeup, lighting, or filtering, along with a hashtag, #itsokkimnovak (Which translates to “Its okay, Kim Novak.” I must admit that at first I misread the hashtag to read “It’s so Kim Novak,” which would have sounded a tad less supportive. My bad.)

Within days, everyone I knew on Facebook was jumping on board the auteur tout naturel idea. Someone assembled a montage of the pictures set to music. I’ll post it if I can. Or you can scroll back through my FB timeline or Laura’s to view it.

It was inspiring, even heartwarming to see a collection of authors put their morning faces forward. Not that we’re the ultimate test case. As a species, we writers don’t tend to be a glamorous bunch. (Your average writer’s conference resembles a scene from The Invasion Of the Extremely Nice People Wearing Comfort Shoes.)

I was a few days late catching up with the trend, but I took a deep breath and posted my photo, seen here. (In response, I got several helpful replies suggesting make-up tips, mostly from Mary Kay and Avon reps. Thanks for that, ladies).

The experience made me question how I approach posting pictures in public. I’m a severe critic of my own photos, even those kept in house. My husband has to snatch the camera or phone away to keep me from deleting 90 per cent of the ones we take during vacations.

My last official author’s photo was taken in 2007. I need have another one ready by the end of this year. Last time around, I remember that the photographer kept telling the makeup artist to “vamp it up some more”. Next time, I may take a page from Laura’s book and go unadorned.

But now I’m taking another look at my #itsokkimnovak photo. I may have to reconsider. I much prefer the girlified look I had in a recent profile in LA Beat Magazine.

Did you all post sans makeup, unfiltered photos online after the Kim Novak thing? Did you learn anything from it? Feel free to post a link to a picture of the “real you” in the Comments!

11 thoughts on “Putting On Your Writing Face

  1. My avatar, here and on FB is totally sans cosmetics. I did comb my hair, and it was 102 in Vegas where it was taken. I haven’t posted much lately because I am currently hyper-sensitive about my weight. My one vanity.

    I thought the program was awesome and a reminder about photoshopping and cosmetic surgery (evidently Kim Novak had a lifelong self esteem issue about her appearance) and all the baggage that goes along with aging and how we need to get over it (myself included.)

    You lady, are gorgeous. Your looks go bone deep.

    • Wow, thank you Terri! And I’m with you on the weight thing. I had just lost 15 pounds and got a bit of “help” from the dermatologist before the last photo shoot. We all need (especially women) to become more comfortable about our appearances. Kim Novak was one of the most beautiful women on the planet . What a sad thing that she felt so anxious and insecure!

  2. I only wear makeup on very special occasions. πŸ˜‰

    btw – That PPK your brandishing in the LA photo…I carried one of those for years. My favourite pistol ever.

    • I know, the make-up thing doesn’t apply to guys, but I know some of you stress out about author photos too!

      That PPK is a gift from my Dad’s collection. My holding of it is awkward in this photo, I know! I needed some training… πŸ™‚

  3. Most times I don’t bother with makeup at all. It clogs my pores and makes me look like I’m accentuating my wrinkles!

    I only use moisturizer (tinted) to even out my tone and camouflage some of the age spots on my cheekbones. Other than that, I encourage all women to go natural unless there’s an occasion.

    If I could find something that doesn’t look caked on, I might try it out. πŸ˜€

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