Pretty as a Picture

As a professional writer and blogger, a big part of my job is writing articles that appear on other websites and in magazines. I love 99.9% of my job, but if there’s one thing I really, really hate, it’s headshots.

Yes, every so often a company will ask for a little photo of me to run alongside an article, particularly if I’ve written something fun or personal. Great.

Now I’m not overly fussed about whether you think I’m beautiful. I’m not. I’m sort of normal looking. I have all the regular features, in more or less the usual sort of position and proportion. Everything works. I’m not filled with self-loathing when I look in the mirror.

Still, choosing a headshot is a minefield of epic proportions. 

Do I choose that flattering shot taken of me when I was 25 and could still pass for 18? It’s tempting but I know that if I take this route, the first thought to enter anyone’s head when they meet me would undoubtedly be, “God, she looks old,” immediately followed by, “I thought she’d be thinner, somehow.”

I don’t think I could bear to see the look of disappointment in your eyes.

So I consider option B – hiding behind the child.

We’ve all got those photos I'm sure, where we’re desperately pretending it’s a candid shot and gosh, we’re having such a good time, all the while clutching a toddler to our chests and hoping they’re covering up the hint of a double chin that appeared somewhere around our 30th birthdays…

Obviously, if you’re under 30 and this hasn’t happened to you yet, please don’t feel you need to comment.

So I settle for a photo taken on holiday last summer, where I have a hint of a tan and I look reasonably cheerful and have both eyes open.  

"Are you sending that one?" comments my Mother, peering over my shoulder, and sending me into a frenzy of self-doubt.


"Well, it's not BAD," she says. "But you do look a bit serial killer-y." 

“Which one then?” I ask, opening up iPhoto.

Mum looks over my shoulder. Time passes. Seasons change. Finally she clears her throat.

“Have you got any others?”

On one particular occasion, I struggled so much that I gave up and sent a photo of someone else. Shameful, I know. But I figured if I got busted, I could just pretend it was an innocent mistake. And guess what? Nobody ever guessed. The secret is to choose a fake photo that isn't instantly recognisable and isn't SO gorgeous that it's obvious you're not a journalist because you're an international model.

So, dear readers, here's my new, 100% candid, not-at-all-fake, completely my own face and not an actress at all honest, headshot. Good, isn't it?


What? This could TOTALLY be me.

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