It’s not easy being a slave to the fashion and beauty industry. From waxing this and that, to shoving our feet in five-inch heels, it’s difficult to stay on the up and up with trends without aches and pains, and even sometimes scars. In a spread for the September issue of Allure, Mario Testino tackles just that.
In the series of photos, the photographer catches models Edita Vilkeviciute and Candice Swanepoe reenacting some pretty painful beauty rituals on each other. Between the poses, the clothes (or lack there of), and the actions being performed, it’s hard to tell how you’re supposed to feel. Are we looking at something sexy? Of are we staring at a violating and almost violent act that’s somehow glamorizing the pain that comes with adhering to what fashion magazines dictate to us? It also makes you question whether or not we can find peace in the big “OUCH!” of it all, if we look at it as art as opposed to straight-up pain.
Let’s examine this together, shall we?
There’s definitely something very sexual going on here, and all at the price of a piercing. It’s almost S&M, but I like to hope that people aren’t piercing themselves in the bedroom between romps.
This photo reminds me of that time my former roommate Lyndsay came into my bedroom with wax and a piece of cloth on her bikini line. “I need you to pull this,” she said, “because I just can’t bring myself to do it.” We had been in an argument earlier that day, so I thought I could easily do it. No such luck. She had to go to a professional, and spent an hour in the shower trying to peel that wax off her hair and skin.
I’ve always thought that the act of tattooing is sexy. For me, there’s something intimate about it, but maybe that’s just because I’ve seen The Lost Boys too many times (you know, because of like blood and stuff.)
Perhaps the idea is if we make pain beautiful, it will be an easier pill to swallow? Or maybe it’s suggesting that it’s about time we let our friends wax our armpits? I really hope not for the latter, but the former I might be able to support someday. Maybe.
Photos: Mario Testino for Allure