Of course, Kim Kardashian has a 400-page book of selfies. I'm sure my 11-year-old daughter could fill such a book as well. They have to take their own pictures of themselves because nobody else is as infatuated with their own image as they are. One, because she is 11 - who didn't spend hours in front of the mirror as a tween or teen? The other due to a level of obsession I have only ever had for street tacos and my children in matching socks.
In my 50's, while I do want to look presentable and be considered one who has less wear and tear on my mug than someone who has received their AARP card, I am simply not as entranced with my visage as those who've lived most of their lives with cell phones. Well, actually I'm just not that brazen and I don't exactly covet still-lifes of my middle-aged self from a mere arms' length away.
Apparently, I am also just not that talented. As my daughter says, "Mommy, you suck at selfies."
How does one suck at a selfie? Rather, what makes one good at taking selfies? Maybe it's just the subject matter. Flawless skin and the exuberant attitude of youth combined with a spontaneous smile are huge assets. A slightly receding hairline and brows that furrow on their own because, children - not as alluring in the eye of the beholder.
Is there talent involved? If so, it cannot be taught.
Athleticism helps because you have to be able to hold the phone away from yourself, pose, suck in your gut while smiling, steady that pesky eye twitches and not call your mortgage broker by accident.
You have to be unabashed in your dedication to vanity. It's difficult to be poised and confident, or girly and carefree in your selfie when you're hiding behind a tree, pretending to take pictures of birds. It's also super challenging to coax that resting bitch face into a wide happy grin while alone, crouched behind a tree, whoops! called my mortgage broker -- on second thought that is pretty funny.
Meanwhile, I have watched girls in my office apply a full pallet of color to their face, throw their head back and with the phone held high, twist and spin on their desk chairs, capturing their countenance from each of the 360 degrees of that rotation. Her inner voice, evidently in the greasy tones of an adult film director who coaxes "Arch your back, love," "Gimme that pout," "A little more cleavage sweetheart," interspersed with "Mmmm, that's right, baby." My inner voice says "You have onion breath" and "The utility bill is due today."
Now, just a brief mention of the pouty lip. Most of us don't have the full Kelly LeBrock puss. Nevertheless, it's almost a prerequisite to pose for your selfie with a shadow-casting pucker. For those of us already elongating our necks, twisting away from a starter jowl, while holding the phone toward our best (better) side, there's not enough skin left to stick our lips out. My pouty potential left with all my collagen, sometime in my 40s. If you are not aware of the phenomenon, when your skin is no longer supple enough to arrange your face around a straw, your body simply produces. More. Skin. Usually around the neck area, and with all the grip of hand-me-down boxer shorts.
Do I suck at selfies? Perhaps. But practice makes perfect. This is why I sometimes sit in my car, in the garage, blasting AC DC and snap as many as it takes to get one that looks, well, like my daughter's: spontaneous and carefree.
Wow, I think selfies don't reflect so much of artistic ability as they do an attitude and maybe that's what makes my selfies suck. I need to work on that. I also think I just dialed my mortgage broker - again. Maybe she'd like to be my inner voice?
By Dana Gonzalez
Dana is TRUST Beauty’s Chief Engagement Officer and a regular contributor to our blog, twitter and other social media platforms. Watch for more articles and words of wisdom from Dana in the coming weeks.