Last Updated: Mon Jul 18, 2011 23:17 pm (KSA) 20:17 pm (GMT)

Basra Haider / Arabian Beauty: Mirror! Mirror!

Being in the fashion and beauty industry, I have been told many times that I had the face of a supermodel and a perfectly proportioned body; well, when I was much younger, I was told a great deal more, of course (intimate stuff not printable in a “family” Website!).

This meant that basically with diet and exercise I did not have any limits to achieving the ideal body. But, standing at 165cm, I did not match the required height to be the cream of the crop in the industry! And the mindset was instilled, I was “not good enough” and so another battle had started, this time with my height! It did not matter, that I had beautiful flawless skin, it did not matter that I had beautiful eyes, slim legs and beautiful feet, or whatever else beautiful, what mattered was that I was dark, already established and now seemingly short.

When people gave me compliments, I secretly battled with them and concluded they just didn’t notice my flaws yet, but when they would discover them, they would be horrified! As most teenage girls will confess, that’s a very stressful way to live!

The latest trend is not a six-pack but a rib pack! You are only skinny enough if your ribs show. How do you achieve this emaciated look? I asked a 15-year-old and she said: “The trick is to just smell food but not eat it.” Teenage girls that are of normal to heavy weight are not exactly embracing themselves; they walk around with slumped shoulders, defeated, and deflated.

Sadly, I can’t even say that we all grow out it. If anything, in our 20’s having some financial power we usually enhance our game and add to our stress level when regarding our image. The irony here is that many women don’t really take the time to get to know themselves, their faces and bodies. The want instant gratification, instant results, they do not want to be disciplined or follow routines, they don’t have the time, and besides it is just not that important.

The discomfort caused by committing to daily exercise seems more than the pain caused by a surgeon’s knife, the possible permanent damage and the few weeks in bed; the time it takes to properly wash, tone and moisturize the skin is considered tedious compared to the time it takes to cover up marks and uneven skin tones with camouflage and foundation.

So what is the answer? Education? I never tell my clients or my friends, what to do unless I am asked. But I do educate whenever I can. Most importantly, when someone says something like, “I think, something is wrong with my mirror? It is making me look tired and bigger.” I say I think you’re right knowing very well that the mirror never lies; it can only reveal to you what you perceive, no more and no less.

So, ultimately, it is not the mirror that needs alteration, it is the individual’s perception of themselves. For when your perception changes, be it good or bad, so does the reflection. Mirror, Mirror, never lies!

(Basra Haider covers the beauty industry. She can be reached at:

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