Photograph by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott
The story I am about to narrate happened a couple years ago, but I still remember it like it was only yesterday. It was right after my annual visit to the dentist's and I was walking back at home. My feelings ??? Frustration, anger, dispair and hate for myself (maybe the dentist too). Wait....Don't jump into easy conclusions!
It wasn't because of the pain that we usually suffer while in there. No, no, no! It was a comment from my dentist that hurt the most! Yeap! Have in my mind that my dentist is a she, ok? So this is the earlier dialogue between us:
-Dentist (sounding judgemental): It's impressive that you haven't fixed the gap between your front teeth yet.
-Me (feeling a little awkward but still optimistic): Well...My parents were always telling me that the gap is regarded as a mark of fortune and for this reason, I should not wear braces. It would be like interfering with my fate.
-Dentist (in a highly critical tone): This is such a dated belief...People used to think also that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but is there any true to that?
-Me (in a more apologetic tone): Well, of course not! But it's not the same. They just wanted me to feel good with myself as I am. I don't blame them!
-Dentist (very harshly now): Now that you are young, it may not seem to you as a great flaw. But what in twenty years time, that you'll have also the wrinkles? You'll look terrible and you'll hate your reflection to the mirror!
As you can understand, from that point and on we didn't exchange any other word! Not because her comments didn't affect me and I had nothing to say to her. Believe me, it was quite the opposite! But it was as the cat ate my tongue and thus, all the things that would probably sound like %&$#?@!, obviously couldn't come out!
But with all this attention and popularity gap-toothed models are enjoying lately, a trend that W magazine first brought back to fashion two years ago, I finally feel more peaceful inside with my decision to keep my gap as it is.
The trend first began in the fifties with Brigitte Bardot turning this imperfection into one of the defining features of her sex-appeal.
Later, it was Lauren Hutton and Jane Birkin that with their 'different' looks standed out from the other models.
During the '90s it was Madonna and the actress, chanteuse and nowadays Chanel model Vanessa Paradis, whose gap-toothed grin is featured in the current advertising campaign for the Rouge Coco lipstick line.
Today, some of the most successful models and latest muses such as Lara Stone, Georgia May Jagger and Lindsey Wixson owe their success to this feature.
The list also extends to Anna Paquin of ''True Blood'', Elizabeth Moss of ''Mad Men'', Ashley Smith, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Jessica Hart and the list goes on and on......
I am not saying that because the fashion industry has, for the moment at least, grown bored with its own rigid notions of photo-retouched perfectionism I am feeling good with my own gap. No, please don't think that. What I want to say is that in case we consider fashion as a powerful industry, which is true, then this means that it CAN actually change beliefs and has the power needed to break stereotypes. Therefore, there is some hope in life that this fashion trend will trickle down, reach the masses and change people's beliefs. And then maybe, I say maybe, women like my dentist will stop make other women feel as measurable and unsecure as I felt that day, as we know how hard it is to be a woman today.
And with this I leave you....Have a great week-end.