Another day, another actor who wants some applause for doing the same thing the rest of us do when we’re running late in the morning. Jennifer Aniston appeared on Deadline’s “Contenders” panel to discuss her upcoming indie film, Cake. Here’s how Us Weekly describes her appearance and, well, her appearance:
“It’s our little love project,” Aniston told panel attendees. “When I read the script, I was ready to disappear.”
And disappear she did. The We’re the Millers actress was snapped on the Cake set in Los Angeles last April, looking practically unrecognizable thanks to a face completely without makeup and a bob of medium-brown hair—no signature blowout in sight.
First of all, just stare at these photos of her on the Cake set for a moment. I’ll wait.
Do you see how recognizable she looks? If I saw that photo, I would say, “Oh, that’s Jennifer Aniston with brown eyeliner” rather than, “MY GOD WHO IS THAT FILTHY BEAST MONSTER, CERTAINLY NOT AN ACTRESS WHO GETS PAID FOR HER FACE.” Of course, Jen will have you know that this was pretty courageous of her.
The role is that of Claire Simmons, a “woman who suffers a car crash that leaves her with scars all over her body.”
Being without makeup, Aniston said, was “so fabulous—so dreamy and empowering and liberating.” Emphasizing the uniqueness of the process, the A-lister added, “The only time I had to sit in the makeup chair was just for the scars.”
Liberating! Empowering! Dreamy! And one source said “she left all the self-consciousness behind her. People were really blown away,” as though being a profoundly attractive human being out in public sans foundation is something worthy of blowing people away. But sure.
Ah, Jen Aniston, an actor who gets paid exorbitant amounts of money to represent a skincare company that airbrushes her skin to the point where it might technically not be considered skin any longer.
Obviously, women have an absurd amount of pressure from society, from the media, and even from themselves to look a certain way both with and without makeup. (This is often a direct result of men having zero idea what “no makeup” and “natural beauty” actually looks like.) A makeup-free photo is praised when it comes from a conventionally hot person, yet criticized when it’s from somebody whose appearance does not fit those same conventions. I get that Jen has experienced lots of flack in the same way all famous women have, but let’s be honest, it’s not exactly bold for a woman who has literally been named the Sexiest Woman Alive by a major publication.
This is not to say there haven’t been brave or beneficial photos taken sans makeup. For example, the #NoMakeupSelfie trend that raised over $3 million, which was amazing. Or Jeanne Marie Ryan, the Oxford student who was brutally attacked after refusing a man’s advances in a nightclub, who then turned around and posted an (actual) brave #NoMakeup selfie on the Internet.
It’s cool that Jen Aniston went makeup-free for a role, but it was for a role. Actors like Charlize Theron have won awards for making themselves less conventionally attractive, so forgive me if I’m not jumping for joy that a famous actors who is, let’s be honest, not an all that talented one has gone sans airbrush makeup for a serious role. Perhaps acting in and of itself is empowering, but going without makeup to fulfill an aspect of it is simply doing your job.
Miguel Aguilar/JS, PacificCoastN