Yesterday we had the distinct pleasure of catching up with model and foodie extraordinaire Roz Purcell and actress Vivienne Connolly to talk all things Irish skin. The girls were on hand to share the love for our Celtic, freckled skin following some shocking new research which reveals how more than half of us aren’t happy with our skin and feel that it is far less attractive than other, foreign skin tones. A staggering 61% of us feel hard done by when compared to those who hail from Spain or Italy, for example.
What’s more, almost a quarter of Irish women never let their partner see them without their make-up on, while some wait up to 2 months at the beginning of a relationship before their other halves see them au natural “well that relationship isn’t going to last too long”, jokes Vivienne. In short, we women of Ireland have a major problem on our hands. This research comes via Therapie Clinic and, needless to say, they’re on a mission to make a change.
Both Roz and Vivienne admit that they weren’t always so confident about their natural look, agreeing that we Irish have always seemed to want what we don’t have. “I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my skin, and I used to hate my freckles and would try to cover them up,” Roz recalls. Their respective careers in the media have always demanded a certain standard – hair extensions, fake tan, the whole works – and their physical appearances have always been judged. Roz recalled taking part in Miss Universe and feeling as though she had to layer on the fake tan, in order to blend in with the other, darker-skinned models, but these days, Roz shies away from the heavy make-up and dark tan, choosing instead to embrace the characteristics that she used to dislike. ‘It’s probably my paler skin that would make me stand out in a situation like that.’
“Earlier in my career, I used to care so much what people thought of my appearance and was occasionally guilty of masking my natural skin. However the older and wiser I get, the more I realise I would rather be true to myself and my own appearance, than be someone I’m not. Now, when the camera stops rolling, I embrace my natural beauty.”
At the age of about 19, while spending time in Madrid surrounded by people with dark brown eyes, Vivienne says she got quite the confidence boost after getting compliments for her lighter skin and bright blue peepers. ‘Because of that difference I was getting booked for jobs. That comfortableness in your own skin; you can’t beat it.”
The girls advice for making our paleness work? ‘Wear the right colours, moisturise and take care of it.’ These days they’ve copped on to the fact that sunbathing does your skin no favours – “it affects your pigmentation and ages you so much faster” – and don’t get them started on sunbeds. “After my little sunbed phase I realised I’d probably regret it in ten years”, says Roz. Thankfully, the industry they work in is starting to embrace paleness too: “paleness is completely in.” Roz says it’s become a lot easier these days because brands no longer seek out tangoed models, they’re more drawn to our fair skin tone. “They’ll actually ask me in advance to make sure I haven’t been taking too much sun.”
“If we all adhere to the stereotypical look we’re used to seeing in magazines then we all look the same. That’s why this campaign is brilliant’ explains Vivienne. “It’s a nationwide boost of confidence.”
“It’s so much nicer when women are just honest and we help each other out instead of scrutinizing ourselves and others over the odd spot. We’re all in the same battle here; this wall of pretense needs to come down.
On the subject of other halves, Roz jokes that her boyfriend, Bressie, would have seen her without makeup even before they started officially going out – “this is it, this is me! You know all those pictures you saw on the internet? Well, I don’t actually look like that, I’m not always in lingerie, and I don’t always have abs!”
If photographers snap them popping out for the milk with no make-up? “I don’t care, yeah this is me without make-up, this is real.”
So there you have it, ladies. Embrace your individuality, learn to love your paleness and whatever you do, don’t dare cover up those freckles.