Standard Issue’s intrepid biscuit face Pippa Evans has a confession to make…
Have you ever been on a diet where you decided you weren’t going to eat something specific? A no-carbs diet for example. After that first two weeks (days) of enthusiasm, you start finding ways to sneak bread.
“Well, I don’t want to ruin everyone else’s bread party so I better have some.”
“This bread is untidy, I better shape it more into a loaf with my teeth.”
“Is this sandwich bothering you?”
It’s like when I gave up alcohol for Lent and then discovered that in some cultures that practise Lent, they break Lent every Sunday. EVERY SUNDAY. Let me tell you, THOSE WERE GREAT SUNDAYS! Although I can’t tell you because I can’t really remember. With all the best intentions, bread starts appearing on your table, wine in your glass and butter suddenly reappears in your fridge despite having read The China Study from cover to cover.
And so it is: I have begun sneaking makeup. Not intentionally. Not even in a way I noticed to start with. It went like this.
We were doing some filming for Sunday Assembly. I had to be there at 2pm and I had to do my own makeup. I also had a meeting at 11am. There won’t be time between the end of the meeting (12pm) and the beginning of the filming (2pm) to get my slap on, I reasoned to myself. So I did my makeup at 10am. Then the filming was cancelled.
But I didn’t take the makeup off. I kept it on. Not necessarily consciously. I was, by then, out of the house and I don’t carry makeup wipes with me (mainly because Sali Hughes says they are evil and she is now my God), but if I were really committed to the cause, I would have popped into Boots and spent 99p on some makeup remover pads. I didn’t. Interesting…
Going to an advert audition yesterday for the part of “Pretty Wife” (we really have come a long way in advertising), I decided to wear makeup. As I said in week two, a casting director told me that wearing makeup to an audition is really only required if the part is described as “pretty”. (That, of course, asks a whole new question: ”Can’t you be ‘pretty’ without makeup?”)
Though I am all for double-standard bashing, we have to remember that when these parts are cast, particularly in advertising, they use the stereotypes that the audience will recognise. They don’t have huge amounts of time to develop characters that show deep self-worth and great moral values, so instead they, unfortunately, have to go with the classic pretty = good, ugly = bad. Although, I would be more likely to buy an advert sold with humour than with sex. See this exquisite example of great advert humour.
On my way to the audition I met up with my pal Rob who said, “You’re wearing makeup!” and I said, “Yes, but it’s for one of the reasons I am allowed: work.” And he said, “I guess 97 days as a biscuit doesn’t have the same ring.” Whatever, ROB! Whatever. But he has a point.
Q1) Do I want to play pretty wife?
A) Only because it will pay the bills.
Q2) Do I want to ruin my chance of getting the part because my face doesn’t fit the bill?
A) Only if I really don’t care about the part and, currently, my bank account really cares.
Why am I sneaking makeup? Do I miss it? Yes. I don’t miss it day-to-day; I have really enjoyed the wake, wash, moisturise and go start to each morning. But that extra shine on special days – the feeling “pretty”. Do I feel pretty when I don’t wear makeup? No. But then why do I want to feel pretty? How have I been conditioned to think I need to feel pretty to get through the day? WHO IS THIS PERSON I HAVE REVEALED BY NOT COVERING HER IN FOUNDATION?
To continue this experiment, I think I need to get more extreme. So next week I am not allowed to do ANYTHING. No makeup. No thought into what I am wearing. I will put out two outfits for the week. Fresh underwear, obviously. Although… no, definitely fresh underwear. But I won’t be able to do anything else. Wash, moisturise, brush hair. No hair products, no makeup even when I am on stage. HELLO.
It starts on Monday. WISH ME LUCK.
Not good enough for “pretty wife”? Pippa’s been cheating on her biscuit promise…
Pippa Evans is a comedian, improviser and the co-founder of Sunday Assembly. She lives in London.