Body Confidence, Miley Cyrus, Opinion, Role Model

Miley Cyrus – Authentic style or a total boob?!

It’s not every day I get invited onto BBC radio to talk about nipples! Yes, that’s right – Miley Cyrus’ ‘nipple pasties’ to be precise. There I was, preparing for a call with one of my mentees when my phone rang. It was a producer from the Shane O’Connor show asking if I had seen the picture in the paper of Miley Cyrus wearing nipple pasties, and not much else, at the event to welcome Joan Jet into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In honour of Joan, Miley chose to wear pink hearts emblazoned with a J on each one.

Miley CyrusAs the producer was speaking to me I quickly Googled the image and saw what she was referring to. “Would you like to comment on how this outfit is representing her image?” I have very strong views on the example that people in the public eye set for their younger fans, so you can bet I accepted in a flash!

Some of you who don’t have teenage daughters may not know that Miley played a character in a Disney programme – Hannah Montana. I saw sweet Miley growing up in front of my eyes as I watched the innocent programme with my daughter. She had a huge fan base of young tweens and teens at that time who all followed her career as she moved into pop-star mode. She clearly wanted to rid herself of the sugar-sweet ‘Hannah’ image and quickly established herself as a writhing, finger-flicking, stick it to the establishment rebel.

Her image is clearly meant to shock and grab headlines. But what of her young fans? I can only speak for my daughter who thinks she has ‘lost the plot’ and she is no longer interested in Miley, her antics or her music. She is well informed though, with my passion for encouraging a confident body image in teens, she is pretty well versed in the antics of the media in air-brushing and giving is fake and often impossible images to aspire to.   To other teens who may not know this knowledge, I wonder what kind of example she is setting. I strongly feel that people who are in the public eye have a duty of care to their fans and need to think carefully about the example they are setting.

Back to my interview with Shane – I mentioned all of the above, of course! Plus, he asked what I would advise Miley if she were my client. Great question. My instant answer was that I would advise her to be authentic, to represent herself though her image. I doubt whether she is being authentic. I think she is just rebelling and going through a phase. I hope she comes out of it soon and tones her image down to something a little more respectable. Poor Paul McCartney didn’t know where to look! He also asked if I thought it was selfish. After all the event was to honour Joan Jet and the newspapers were full of stories about Miley the next day. Of course Joan got a mention, but Miley stole her thunder. I retorted that it was a little like going to someone’s wedding as a guest and wearing a white dress!

What do you think of her look? One that you will be trying anytime soon?!

Stay authentic, but stay a little more demure I say.

I had seconds to look at the image before being live on air and I am pleased to say that I received feedback that I sounded ‘cool, composed and oh so right!’  Thank you!

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Air Brushing, Body Confidence, Body Image, Cindy Crawford, Confidence, First Impressions

Body Confidence: Cindy Crawford’s Tummy Makes an Impression!

Cindy CrawfordWhat do you feel when you look at this image?  It has caused a huge amount of discussion over the last few days, almost breaking Twitter! It is a photograph of Cindy Crawford, which is reputed to have been leaked from an earlier photo shoot for Marie Claire. The shot has not been airbrushed or photo-shopped at all.  It may come as quite a shock, even to adults, that most images we see in magazines have been enhanced in some way.

We’ve become conditioned to look at photographs that are perceived as ‘flawless’ or ‘perfect’.  In who’s eyes I wonder. The reaction by many people, particularly women, has been one of relief!  “Thank goodness, even super models have stretch marks”.  “She looks more ‘normal”. I believe that this could send a great message out to everyone – particularly our daughters.  Do we really want them to be measuring themselves against an idealised image of artistic perfection shown in many magazines?  When I talk about body confidence in schools, pupils are pretty savvy to the fact that airbrushing happens.  They love the before and after pictures and enjoy spotting the differences and exactly what has been altered. Every time I run this exercise, even with children as young as 11, they are all shocked by the degree of image manipulation that happens. They often feel cross that companies dupe us into thinking that the images are real life.

Isn’t it about time someone as influential as Cindy showed us what it is really like? If she chose to do this, I’m really pleased.  If she didn’t choose and someone leaked it, I’m still pleased it’s out in the open and Cindy seems to be pretty gracious about it – I for one have been banging the drum for transparency and authenticity for years!  Most importantly, she looks confident and self assured, qualities to be proud of in any woman. In a recent interview she said  “I really think—at any age—it’s learning to be comfortable in your own skin. …If women would treat themselves with the same kind of love they give to their friends, that would be such a great gift we could give ourselves. …What makes you the most attractive is self-confidence. That’s what people see.”

Many women we work with have issues with their self-image and confidence. They believe the myth that the media creates and they strive for an unattainable look. The key to being self-confident is to accept yourself the way you are and to make the most of of your natural beauty – just as Cindy Crawford is doing here.

What do you think of the image? – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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