The obsession with makeovers


Express August 09, 2010

In the recently-released film Aisha, Sonam Kapoor defends her decision to do a makeover on Amrita Puri by saying “Mallika Sherawat bhi to Haryana se thee ...” (Even Mallika Sherawat was from Haryana).

The obsession with makeovers has been showcased in several teen films (Clueless, Mean Girls and She’s All That) as well as in Bollywood productions (Fashion, Khoon Bhari Maang and Yeh Dillagi) where the ‘plain Jane’ girl gets a truckload of designer dresses, accessories and a new haircut and becomes a fashionista overnight.

The makeover segment on “America’s Next Top Model” is one of the most entertaining parts of the show, given the screams, tears and joy it elicits from the contestants when their hair is snipped, coloured and often, hacked off.

However, what drives women to change? According to stylist Tariq Amin, “Change is needed in today’s fashion conscious world,” but as far as inspirations go, he says, “It is essentially the sheer lack of nothing to do and the desire to make one feel better.”

Several Pakistani celebrities have over the years reinvented their entire look, including Babra Sharif, Shaan, Meera and Reema.

However, make-up artist Humaa Taher laughingly says some people are just ‘dumb’. Taher told The Express Tribune, “It is a personality trait or even a state of mind,” which drives a woman to get a makeover. “For example, an overweight woman comes to me and says she wants a proper hair cut to give her a better look, not realising that shedding some weight would most definitely be better.”

According to Taher, the real change is in losing weight. “It is all about their bodies,” she said. “They are bored of their life and 70 per cent of their inspiration is from Bollywood and 30 per cent from local magazines.”  Stylist Raana Khan agrees that women draw inspiration from publications. “It’s the local magazines and media that people get inspired by,” she says. “They want to look like the people in magazines.”

One of the key drivers to get a makeover is impending nuptials. Brides-to-be are frequently found at the salon indulging in skin treatments, or signing up for the gym and yoga classes, trying to lose as much weight as possible before the big day.

Khan says that when it comes to makeovers, women mostly look for advice on skincare and hair treatments. “The main things are skin, what kind of make-up would suit them and hair styling.”

However, makeovers can often go very wrong. The Plastic Desis website (plasticdesis.com) details alleged plastic surgery treatments that Pakistani socialites and actors have undergone, which have often ended with strange results. In Aisha, Amrita Puri turns around and screams at Sonam Kapoor for thinking designer clothes and a haircut would help anyone.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2010.

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