We so rarely see ‘authentic’ skin that Daisy Ridley’s Vogue cover is an outlier

We so rarely see 'authentic' skin that Daisy Ridley's Vogue cover is an outlier


Star Wars heroine, Daisy Ridley appeared on the cover of US Vogue this month, and the aesthetic was pure ’80s-core. That’s a phrase I just made up but I’m hoping you’ll accept because I can think of no better way to describe the theme of power dressing meets intergalactic futurism.

There was the singular, dangly earring; the metallic leather outfit, the smudged eyes and wet-look hair, all of it highly reminiscent of the 1980s, and in particular, of model and actress, Carre Otis. The two share not just freckles and rosy cheeks, but a wide, open face that was typical, even fashionable during the original decade of Star Wars prominence.

Remember Kathy Ireland, Brooke Shields, Paulina Porizkova – their face shape was desirable, I think, because it had to be large enough to paint the full spectrum of 1980s colours on, starting at the eyebrow and going all the way down to the chin – and that was just the blush.

Forgive my nostalgia, I think Daisy Ridley has me feeling some kind of way, not just because of the shape of her face, but the shape of her skin. On the cover of Vogue it appears freckled, a little rosy, a little uneven. In short, it appears real. And during these times, when so many people, celebrities and non-celebrities, men and women alike, have lasered and burned back and peeled and punctured their skin until it is as smooth and even as a silicone sex doll’s, Ridley’s face is a welcome, even refreshing return to a time when technology – both from media and medi-spas – had not yet encouraged us to erase the very texture of our dermal layers, leaving a flat, rubbery, monotone impersonation of reality in its place.

It sounds strange to get all wistful, because Ridley’s skin is clearly excellent. After all she’s only 25, and she’s English, which means she hasn’t seen the sort of sun so many of us Australians have. But this is what great skin used to look like — it looked real. Now, we not only have fillers and botox and nine different types of laser, we have Instagram filters on top of that. The result is that we only see real skin on certain people when we are face to face. And the contrast for me is sometimes so startling, I wonder to myself if they are suddenly ill.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for doing everything you can to make skin look better. And when I say you, I mean me. Because I’ve tried it all. Because I have aggressively authentic skin. My nickname in primary school was “freckle face” because there were more freckles than space on my visage. They were big, they were dark, they were everywhere. I often think about how, in the mid 80s, so many adults around me viewed the sun as medicinal. I wore sunscreen, sure, but only at the beach. “No Hat No Play” would not come into effect for a few years. “They’ll fade” my parents assured me, around once a week in summer. And they did fade. Now, I look like have a hyper pigmentation problem.

On top of the freckles, I’ve faced a life-long battle with blushing and rosacea. As I hobble off into what I’m going to call “pre-middle-age” to comfort myself, I notice dryness and sagging and discolouration in places I didn’t use to even notice. And that’s using all the tricks available to a beauty writer.

Then I hop on Instagram and note that despite the fact that every human has them, pores are definitely a no-no. In fact, anything less than a super nova level of glow is now odd to my eyeballs.

London-born, New York based makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes, who has a devoted following on Instagram, and has bucked the high-contour, pore-less trend, recently posted this to her account. “Everybody has skin texture, skin texture is beautiful and is supposed to be there. Everybody gets spots, spots are supposed to be there because they tell us when something may be wrong inside. Everybody gets wrinkles, wrinkles are a kind of beautiful little map of your life till now! Show it all off, it’s beautiful.”

True to her word, Hughes allows her skin’s reality to shine on Instagram, as she told Into The Gloss in a recent interview, “I’m fine with lines on my forehead, and the ones around my eyes and mouth because as long as my skin looks glowy and fresh and not dry, I’m down with any of it.”

Admittedly, Hughes has damn good skin. But wouldn’t it be great if, along with the body positive movement, and the drive by women like Rihanna for greater inclusivity in makeup, we might approach a place of acceptance regarding the human body’s biggest organ?


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