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The Ugly Side of Beauty – Off the Hook

August 28, 2010

It’s official, you can get away with anything if your one of the BEAUTIFUL people. Just keep turning on that designer smile, rubbing oil into those bronzed biceps and showing up in all the right places. The world is your oyster. Even if you are an addict. 

Well, that was my ‘take home’ message from this weeks Ben Cousins ‘documentary’ which won the ratings battle twice this week in Australia.  Right about now I should point out to all of those who don’t give a damn that Ben Cousins is one of footballs “GOLDEN BOYS”  (or golden balls if you are that way inclined). His code is AFL which is popular in Australia and his past was drug fuelled. Indeed he caused a degree of outrage among AFL officials when he (rather embarrassingly) admitted to taking drugs through much of his highly successful playing career. Needless to say, he got banned, then un-banned, sidelined and then captained before recently retiring. 

OK, so another sports star gone bad story?  Not quite, Ben was a (his own words) ‘high functioning’ drug addict that rewarded himself with a drug fuelled binge after a big day in the office.  He was (and still is) an extremely good footballer and remains a very handsome man. He never got caught on the job, always put on a good show and turned up to any training session that didn’t include a drug test. Text book player if you ignore the detail.

 And that is why I am telling you Ben is a living example of where beauty blinds the public to the beast.  The ugly detail was just too easy to ignore and to inconvenient to acknowledge.  The beast in this piece is the addiction by the way, not the person as he is clearly sick.

So, what happened here?

Well, this story could be about any one of a number of beautiful people, think Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss, Tiger Woods or Amy Winehouse.  Most people would agree that it was obvious that they had some private-life dramas going on but while they were busy working hard,  becoming popular icons and churning out top dollar results it was easy to turn the other cheek.  I remember the headlines when Amy’s ‘troubles’ became a little too obvious, miles and miles of column inches about her weight, her skin, her hair not being washed and her dirty clothes – all signals of a deeper problem that was acknowledged but only after we’d all had our ‘celeb gone ugly’ fix.  Eugh…. She would have probably lost her record deal or been locked up in celeb rehab way earlier had she not had the ‘whole package’.  Sad. 

Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss both got off lightly with their misdemeanors because of the ‘something that pretty can’t be bad’ mentality (or is it a ‘something that pretty can make us money mindset)  You choose….

Good looks can get you a better job, can win you friends and can save your ass in a tricky situation. It’s true and it sucks for those of us whose behaviour and looks are less than modelesque.  We can’t help ourself, we are hard-wired from birth to love, trust and desire beauty. But at some point we have to get real.

Ben Cousins will continue to do well in life until his former ‘habits’ catch up with him and take the shine off his outer perfection.  Even then he could do well if he changes his tune from ‘It was just a bit of fun-gone-bad’  to ‘If you do what I did you’ll end up like this’.  It’ll never happen.

I fear that the ugly side of beauty  will be the undoing of Ben Cousins and his army of young supporters as the real damage of such a toxic life has been hidden beneath a veneer of perfection.  There was little evidence of remorse or reform during the recent documentary and many found that fact a little hard to stomach. I just hope that after some MORE quiet reflection Ben and the other troubled beauties recognise the need to get beyond their looks and connect with their adoring fans on a deeper and more personal level. 

So, if you believe that it is time to open the book then join with me and let the world know that while being beautiful helps you get what you want, it doesn’t always give you what you need.

Real beauty comes from within not without.

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