Article written by By Phillip Swann
Dr. Ruth Peters, an advice columnist who often appears on NBC’s Today Show, was recently asked by a mother what she should say to her 12-year-old daughter who feels she can’t measure up to beautiful Hollywood celebrities.
Peters said: “Media idols really aren’t so perfect in person. Explain to your daughter that camera angles, lighting and makeup help the stars to look as they do. Even celebrities are now complaining about the “reality” shown by HDTV — wrinkles and skin imperfections are even more visible with the newest technology.”
As you know, I have been the leader in explaining how celebrities look worse — or sometimes better — in high-def. My commentaries have been featured in hundreds of publications, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and Inside Edition.
My articles are written in a tongue-in-cheek style as I poke fun at Hollywood’s high and mighty. However, there is undeniably a serious side to the issue as well. For decades, the Hollywood glamour machine has been able to dictate who is considered beautiful and who is not. Using soft lighting in TV and movie appearances, and magazine photo shoots, Hollywood has been able to create the impression that some people are better looking than they really are. (Recent examples: Cameron Diaz, pictured below, and Britney Spears.)
And that’s a big reason why that 12-year-old girl is feeling a little unworthy. When she looks at a photo of Ms. Spears in Seventeen Magazine, she has no idea that the singer’s pimples and puffy eyes have been airbrushed away with the latest in Photoshop software.
However, with HDTV, which provides a picture up to six times clearer than normal television, viewers for the first time can see celebrities as they look in real life. Make-up can only do so much in high-def.
Consequently, as more people get HDTVs, the Hollywood glamour machine might have to go into the shop for a few repairs. Rather than trying to make stars out of ordinary looking people, the studios and networks might have to place their bets on individuals who are naturally beautiful, those who will look great in any setting, including high-def.
And in Hollywood, that’s a serious issue. Trust me, I know. I get e-mails from actors, agents and network officials inquiring about my comments on how people look in HDTV. They realize the articles are meant to be entertaining, but they are nervous about what I’m saying. They seem to sense they are losing some control over their ability to manipulate their audience.
Is that a good thing? I guess it depends on where you sit. If you’re sitting in front of a HDTV, it’s an exciting thing, as well as a good thing. But if you’re sitting in a leather-backed chair in a Hollywood agent’s office right now, it may not be.
The Daily Telegraph in London last week interviewed me about how celebrities look in high-def — and how it might change Hollywood.
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By By Phillip Swann
For more of Phillip Swann’s views, visit his webiste http://www.tvpredictions.com/