I had never given much thought to whom I considered my beauty icon before now. Of course, I know what kind of beauty looks I like, what I hope to replicate, but have never actually attributed it to any one person in particular. I also have celebrities whose beauty inspires me, but wouldn’t think to call them my icons. So deciding on a person rather than a general idea was difficult until I started connecting the dots between my beauty aspirations.
When I think about how I would like to look I have more of an idea in mind. The only way I can think to describe it is as a woman in a period drama. Don’t laugh. Women in period dramas tend to have a specific sort of beauty look that I would assume universally appealing. With blushing skin that’s abnormally smooth, a literally impossible amount of soft voluminous hair (nobody has that much hair) and plump rosy lips. They are, in a word, enchanting. This is how I would imagine a wood nymph or a pre-raphaelite muse to look, like they emerged from nature perfectly and have incredible beauty without access to an acid toner or a hair oil.
Basically, I just want to look soft and warm, and so the look that women have in period dramas obviously appeals to me. After all, who wouldn’t want to feel enchanting?
Once I gave it more thought, I realised that my love of period dramas and the beauty looks in them are epitomised by none better than Keira Knightley. Knightley is known for her performances in period dramas, and remaining the height of beauty in whatever time and place she puts herself. I remember watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean film as a child; seeing the then-17 Knightley fighting pirates in a frock with her hair loose, this was clearly when my beauty ideals were first shaped. Years later when I became a fan of Jane Austen, I saw her in Pride and Prejudice, and completely fell in love (I even wanted to have a wispy fringe cut in, thank God I didn’t).
I have a square face, inherited from my mother and affectionately referred to in my family as a ‘moon face’. Knightley also has a square face, like mine; less moon-ish of course but let’s ignore that. This ‘similarity’ is what drew me to her in relation to my own beauty, seeing where her makeup artists placed makeup on her is what taught me where to place it on my own more moon-y face.
Our similar colouring also means that whenever Knightley tries a new look, I have a certain level of faith in what suits her in turn hopefully suiting me. An example of this was when I saw Knightley in Atonement. This is what inspired me to try red lipstick for the first time, before this I was far too terrified to brave red, now it’s my go to night out look. Knightley's rounded true red lips in the film are a thing of absolute perfection and a great source of envy for me.
Everyone has an entirely different concept of beauty, and this is reflected in who people choose as their icons. There are those that are more common, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find people with identical icons and beauty aspirations. The individual experience of both your own and others beauty is too vastly different, but this surely only makes everyone’s icon choice all the more interesting.
Who’s your beauty icon?