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Is beauty only skin deep?

A few weeks ago I submitted a post on the correlation between confidence and success, and was surprised to find how many responded and expanded on this  concept. This post is a follow up as such, and discusses the impact of beauty in the world and how it affects our success rate and confidence levels.

I’d like to start by talking about beauty in general.
According to Wikipedia ‘Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction…….An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.’

It’s how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. It’s balance and symmetry, and split into external beauty (physical attractiveness, health) and internal beauty (intelligence, charisma, grace).

How does beauty affect success?

A few days ago I happened to be listening to a Cheryl Cole tune on YouTube  and saw another video of her audition on Popstars: The Rivals (see below).  When she finished singing, two of the judges commented on her beauty ‘beautiful eyes and skin’, ‘stunning’.  But I couldn’t help but notice how none commented on her voice. We know that she was put through and has become one of the most iconic and successful stars, but how much was due to talent and how much was due to beauty? After reading the comments underneath the video, I noted that others had picked up
on this observation and were put out by the fact.


I’m sure you have all heard of the now very famous Susan Boyle. As soon as she emerged onto the stage for her audition, each judge smirked and would have easily written her off….fortunately they listened to her and were all gobsmacked to find that she could carry a tune. But why the knowing glances? Did they assume that an average looking woman was unworthy of a talent? In this instance her ‘averageness’ won her international acclaim.
Still, the lack of percieved beauty meant that a talent for singing was a must.

How does beauty affect confidence?

Lady GaGa is a name that has been snowballing across media channels for quite sometime, mainly because of her outlandish fashion and shocking performances.  It has been stated by the lady herself, that she is made to look taller in her videos and that plenty of ‘smoothing’ goes on. That is then added to an amount of makeup that would stock Debenhams across the country for a week.  And so I ask, what’s wrong with her ‘natural’ look – the one before the teasing, stretching, smoothing etc ? Could it be that not only does she enjoy the drama and attention, but also deems this excess makes her more attractive? If her performances and live chats are anything to go by, then her ‘look’ also gives her confidence.

Is it expected?

Is it a given that successful people should ‘dress’ the part.  The British queen always looks well turned out with matching hat, dress etc. OK, you may argue here that she is not successful, but she is an icon and public perception gives her popularity.  A popularity that she knows is partly based on her image and look.

Stars are made to walk the red carpet and pose for pictures….then wait for the write up on their choice of outfit and general health. Popular with the media = positive views from the public. Fair?

Has the media fanned the flames of beauty = success?

And how has the media underlined this theory? It seems to me that beauty is exploited by the media. That they congratulate those for looking good and abuse those who don’t.  Have they created a perception of beauty as a role model for success and hinted that conforming to this norm is the way to go?

So given the information above, how do we sway perception in business?

The way we dress

Clothing expresses individuality, it also speaks of success and defines our purpose – formal, informal, stylish, creative, extravagant etc.  Clothes can say ‘ take me seriously’ or ‘I’m successful’ or ‘Be comfortable’ or ‘Look at me’. If the queen of England can dress with a message, then so can you.

Body language

Public figures use body language to convey and express a mood or tone – confidence, comedy, lightheartedness, sadness, comfort etc.  Its a way of extending a message which bypasses looks.

Being comfortable in our own skin

No matter how we perceive ourselves, we need to show others that we are comfortable with who we are. No need to conform or cover our less flattering areas.  Know our strengths and work with what we have. Never underestimate the impact of a ‘winning smile’ or firm handshake.

Apologies if there are fans of Susan Boyle that took offence to my term ‘average’.  Just because I don’t happen to find her attractive, doesn’t mean you should conform and follow suit ; 0 )

Any experiences of beauty and confidence to share?
Anyone used body language and clothing to convey a mood for a purpose?
All comments welcome.

Christina is a complete geek, hence a perfect web + online marketing consultant. After ten years working with Premier Recruitment Group, LA Fitness, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Travel and a host of other companies, she now owns CG Online Marketing ( in Ireland and is an associate of the Ahain Group. She's qualified in most things online such as web server management, digital design, Google Analytics and SEO. Specialties: Social Media Marketing, SEO / PPC,Google analytics (qualified in GA IQ) Web trends + insights, Data segmentation and targeting, Customer Behavior analysis, Digital design, Writing, Ethical marketing Green marketing / Sustainable tourism and Hotel + travel online marketing

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  • Christina, intriguing post! Studies have shown that later evidence is only interepted in light of our first impression. This surely make the initial impression we create vitally important in business. When you also factor the amount of communication that happens non-verbally, you quickly start to realise, that we really should be giving this much more attention than we do.

  • We are humans – we are naturally judging creatures, and always judge first by what we see, then the other senses follow suit.
    Has this maybe been harnessed and abused by the media?
    As Niall comments, first impressions last, unfortunately! Once we make a judgement, we then work hard to justify that judgement, rather than look at the reality, and possibly even change our mind, for the better!

    Susan Boyle was lucky – she blew the judges away with the beauty of her voice, because one would have to be tone deaf not to appreciate it.
    I think in business it’s important not to judge too quickly from our side, but be sure that we do show our authenticity when communicating our own message. Authenticity is the only choice anyway, as all the other personalities are taken!
    We can use clothing, briefcases, type of car, makeup, hair and others ploys to create an impression (I certainly am victim of this) but if it helps with confidence when we are a little unsure of ourselves, I say go for it! But never use those ploys to cheat others into thinking we are something we are not – now that’s an impression hard to keep going.
    Great insights Christine, thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  • Hi Niall and Elaine,

    Whats that phase? You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Its true in all cases.
    You’re right Niall, we should look beyond what we see. Maybe Social media in that sense is a positive thing – it forces us to connect by what we read as opposed to what we see. Its blocks that sense so to speak.


  • I wonder Elaine, if society pushes us to dress a certain way to get what we want and to fit in. As you say, we create an impression…..but it is in some cases, expected. We dilute our individuality in interviews etc to get a job, we dress as our friends do at school to fit it.

    I like that you mention ‘authenticity’.


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