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Girl Talk: Anjelica Huston Is My Beauty Role Model

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You know how girls who are trying to lose weight tape pictures of sleek, gorgeous models to the fridge? I want a huge photo of Anjelica Huston, in “Smash,” on my wall, to remind me of what to aspire to.

Anjelica Huston is 60. And yeah, maybe she’s had some work done. And yeah, her hair is not its natural color. And yeah, she is wearing a lot of makeup. (Actually, that’s maybe my only complaint—all the makeup. I can tell that she’d be stunning without it.) But even with it, and the dyed hair, and the possible tweaking that seems inevitable for women over the age of 35 on television, she is still undeniably different. She is still strikingly unique. No one else looks even close to anything like her. And instead of letting this be a weakness, she makes it her signature. She makes it her strength. Instead of disappearing into the crowd, she stands at the middle of it and shouts until everyone turns to pay attention. And all eyes stay on her. Her look refuses to be typical. It refuses to be “appropriate.” And her character on “Smash” fits her look perfectly. She is Eileen Rand, a brash, determined producer who emerges from her wealthy, philandering ex-husband’s shadow to take the reins and put on a play that she thinks will sweep Broadway.

I love Eileen Rand, and I love Anjelica Huston as her. Her beauty is all about her fierceness, her force, and her differences. Because of this, she is my beauty role-model.

I’m not saying I want to look just like her. It’s not like that. I want to be able to rock whatever look I happen to have. Which is what she’s doing. She is rocking the look that she has. Which is pretty much why I watch “Smash.” I mean, the singing is good, too, and occasionally they reference the neighborhood I live in and I feel briefly important. But mostly I watch to see Eileen Rand kicking butt and being an awesome combination of bold, vulnerable, determined, and fantastic. She is also sexy. Her sex appeal is like a message in a bottle washing up on a beach full of supermodels in bikinis. It gives me hope.

It gives me hope because she doesn’t look stereotypically hot. She doesn’t really look stereotypically anything. She looks older than sexy women are supposed to be. She looks heavier than women on TV usually are, unless they’re comedic or on a reality show. She has a bold, outspoken nose. She looks tall and big and strong and different. And she looks fantastic.

So often, we praise women for looking young, when they aren’t anymore. Good for you! We say. You look like something you aren’t! You’re succeeding in fooling everyone! So often, we celebrate beauty that looks exactly like all the beauty that came before it.

Let’s be real for a second: I am never going to be beautiful in the way that most actresses are beautiful. And sometimes I catch myself vaguely wishing that there were some unusual looking stars to look up to. And sometimes I feel quietly freaked out because I’m pretty sure I’m not even fooling anyone now, and by the time I’m in my 40′s and 50′s, no one will be saying, “You look like you’re 25!” unless I’m really rich and they’re hoping I’ll give them money. And sometimes I’m like, “Are there any women on TV who don’t have tiny noses?”

OK, that’s a really petty little pet peeve. But sometimes a girl just needs an example of what it might look like to be awesome and older and sexy without being some sort of genetic goddess who was born to be on the cover of every magazine with a headline that reads “Learn her beauty secrets! She actually feels bad about something about herself because she’s just like you, believe it or not!”

I don’t believe it. But I do believe in Anjelica Huston. I believe that she is making her own sex appeal out of her willingness to stand there in front of the crowd with her back perfectly straight, being her fabulous self. Wearing her fabulous clothes. Acting her fabulous roles.

That’s beauty I can believe in. That’s the kind of beauty I want to have myself.

Good thing I have a big nose! It’s a start, at least.

Kate Fridkis is a Brooklyn-based columnist, freelance writer, and bagel enthusiast who writes the blog Eat the Damn Cake. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatthedamncake.

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