As if it wasn’t enough that tweens and teens are getting mani-pedis and blowouts, there are some–in the affluent DC suburbs, at least–who are also have their own image consultants to glamorize them. These Stacies and Clintons are doing booming business, according to an article in this weekend’s Washington Post entitled “Minor Makeover.”
“In the past couple of years, the market of 12-to-20-year olds has absolutely grown,” says Los Angeles stylist and image consultant Abby Michelle Moll, who works with adult clients and their kids. “It’s being driven by the media and the Internet.”
Reality shows like “How Do I Look?” and “What Not to Wear” usually center on the remarkable before-and-after transformations of the participants. Maybe it was only a matter of time before the trend hit teens and preteens. The idea of perpetually camera-ready teens is what youth market analysts call KGOY, “kids getting older younger,” which is, of course, no new phenomenon.
A lot of the girls quoted in the article sound like nice, slightly lost middle- and high-schoolers who are hoping to break out of their awkward phase.
“I don’t have the best confidence,” says Hannah Abrams, 16, shrugging and offering a small smile. “I feel like a makeover will make people look at me in a different way.”
That kinda breaks my heart…once upon a time I was a geek with a bad haircut and not-particularly-flattering clothes, and I can certainly understand how she feels. But I don’t think that an image consultant would have been the silver bullet for my insecurities. Having a professional pick apart the way I looked? Yikes. I would have just felt worse. And I don’t buy into the idea that being thin, well-dressed, well-coiffed or perfectly made up makes you a confident or happy person. In fact, a lot of the most well-put-together women I know are also the most painfully insecure and self-loathing.