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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Funny Thing About Acceptance

Dyosa. Ganda. Galing ng transpormasyon. (Goddess. Beautiful. An astonishing transformation.)

Kiray as Goddess.
(Styled by Fanny Serrano
Photographed by MJ Suayan
Taken from Serrano's Facebook page)

These, and much more, were heaped upon the actress known as Kiray, after a styling done by famous make up artist Fanny Serrano and photographed by MJ Suayan was publicized. Photos that captured the transformation were posted on Serrano's Facebook page, and roundly applauded as masterful. Many people were actually left wondering who the model was initially, proof that this was, indeed, a complete 180 turn.

Serrano himself has said that he initiated the contact with Kiray, presenting himself as a form of fairy godparent because he couldn't stand the negative feedback Kiray was getting as one of the supposedly 'worst-dressed' people at a recent social function. Some of the barbs, he observed, were downright personal and he wanted to do something about it.

It certainly showcased Serrano's mastery of the make up brush. It also highlighted how good camera angles, neck stretching and other tricks that professional models do can make a 'superior' picture. The shot of self esteem this must give Kiray - who is usually made fun for her physical appearance - is incalculable.

If this is all the photoshoot conveys, I am more than happy that Kiray must be basking in the afterglow of being called a goddess, or that Serrano has reminded people of his talent, or that MJ Suayan's studio will now be booked solid.

Finally, Kiray can count herself as one of the 'pretty girls' of local showbiz, with the photographs to prove it.

Something left me unsettled, though.

It was what the meta-message said, a term I learned from reading one of Dr. Margarita Holmes' many articles: it simply means the message behind the message. Which I certainly do not think was the intention behind the generosity shown by Serrano and Suayan to Kiray, an attempt to stave off further negative, painful name-calling.

In order to be accepted, you have to look a certain way. In order to win positive feedback, you have to deny parts of yourself. In order to be desirable, you must be someone else.

I admit I may be reading too much into it. After all, no opinion is to be treated as writ in stone. But I can't help but feel that the beauty industry - worldwide, one that is valued in the billions - must be having a satisfactory smile at the reception this has been getting.

An industry that likes to think of itself as "enhancing" a person, but is making a simple statement, no matter how it's packaged: you're just not good enough. But you could be, if you buy our magic potion.

Dark skin? Filipinas must strive to have alabaster layers like Snow White.

Still not promoted? You must not have the latest designer dress or shoes.

Dateless? Not if you schedule visits to a celebrity doctor's clinic for the latest noninvasive procedure.

If this makes me a Scrooge to the happy bubble Kiray must be in right now, then so be it. I'm seriously happy for her if this makes her feel good.

I just wished we lived in a world that saw past the physical and the outer form. It's not realistic, I may be a dreamer, call me insane, but I wish people were valued because of their talents, skills, and that je ne sais quoi that each of us has, instead of the ability to approximate some perceived ideal, and in the process, remove all traces of what made us us in the first place.

Crazy, huh?


  1. I saw this news earlier in Yahoo! pero hindi ko pinansin. Nagulat ako na si Kiray pala yun.

    You raised some good points though. Parehas tayo ng inisip kung ano ba ang real meaning behind her transformation. It was a sad reality.

    1. And I know I will receive a "you're such a negative Ned" remark for bringing those points up. Good to know I'm not alone in thinking this way.

    2. Shallow na tao lang ang magsasabi nyan. :)

  2. Great post. Thanks for highlighting this double standard.