The Ten Commandments of Authentic Beauty

Often when people find out that I have worked in the film, music and fashion industries for over 24 years, they promptly ask me what their favorite celebrities look like in person. Everyone wants the scoop on that surrealistic parallel world where perfection is seemingly the norm.

In reality, less than a handful of the “beautiful people” I have met were truly blessed physically, most were plain Janes who metamorphosed into goddesses after learning a secret set of rules enforced by Hollywood glam squads. But the Ten Commandments of Authentic Beauty apply to anyone, young or old, and prove that women in the real world can become as confident and gorgeous as any sex symbol on the silver screen.

Commandment 1: Thou Shalt Not Have a Bad Attitude

A truly beautiful woman is not snobby or pretentious. She knows that physical beauty is a matter of taste and there is always someone who is more attractive or less attractive than her, someone richer and someone poorer, someone smarter and someone less smart. More often than not, those legendary supermodels that are now household names got where they are because they are a pleasure to work with. A day on the set can run 17 hours and by no means does it revolve around the pretty girl. Far from it, she’s really just a replaceable prop. Money, designer clothes, famous boyfriends, aristocratic names – no one gets anywhere based on those elements alone. It’s always personality and kindness that will take you up and over the masses. Be different by never focusing on yourself but on the person you are talking to. Whether it’s a waiter, your best friend, or that cute new guy at the office, give them the respect they deserve and then they will see and feel your incomparable charm.

Commandment 2: Thou Shalt Have A Personal Beauty Icon (or Two)

Strip yourself down and make a list of five key words that describe you physically. Tall? Short? Pale? Dark? Grey hair? Red hair? Create a secret file on your computer and googlegooglegoogle until you find beauty alter egos that resemble you at your purest.

Tilda Swinton. © Dreamstime

Tilda Swinton. © Dreamstime

Growing up in California, I had a major complex about my fair skin, strawberry blonde hair and freckles. The girls who got all the attention at school were mini-Farrah Fawcetts and Christie Brinkleys with dark tans and bleach blonde hair. My perception of myself started to shift when I saw the wedding photo of Keith Richards and Patti Hansen in 1983. My favorite rock star married a freckled, strawberry blonde! In every picture I could find of Patti, she had bed-head, was shrieking with laughter and seemed joyfully tipsy. For the first time, I felt my look (and personality?) was validated. Now 56, Patti is an excellent example of simple and healthy living, still models regularly and she and Keith are arguably the only consistent thing about the Stones.

So whip out your pen and start your list. Top heavy brunette with a great pout? Google Monica Bellucci and Nigella Lawson. 1m80, fair with pert little booblets? Study Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, and Tilda Swinton. Consult your secret Beauty Icon Folder for a reality check whenever you have a doubt about your loveliness.

Commandment 3: Thou Shalt Eat Food That Makes You Glow

One word: organic. If not for your health and the environment, do it because you are a slave to trends. Whole Foods Hotties are the most sought after babes in L.A. and New York and there are actually blogs on pick-up strategies for this particular type of woman.

Photo: Unni Holtedahl

Photo: Unni Holtedahl

Seriously, though, get rid of all the industrial food in your diet and your skin, hair and nails will transform themselves. No pill, cream, supplement or injection can compare with getting fake food out of your diet and getting real micro-nutrients in. You can’t expect to glow while ingesting frozen food, canned food, fat free, sugar free, and myriad chemicals. Your body will rejoice when you ditch that daily Danone fat-free fake strawberry yogurt and scarf a homemade cookie instead. Take diet soda – it’s pure evil. The sodium retains water and encourages osteoporosis (bloated hunchback), the phosphoric acid corrodes the stomach lining, teeth and bones (bloated hunchback with rotten teeth) and the aspartame makes the brain crave sugar (now a tweeking, bloated, toothless hunchback). But fear not, no need to go all Victoria Beckham on us. Just cut the fake food and devote yourself to the unadulterated stuff. Get gratified and radiant by indulging (reasonably) in good organic chocolate, cheese, wine and the like. For your efforts, you will most likely shed extra weight without even trying.

In the next installment, Commandments 4 through 7 will cover how much exercise you should be getting as well as the low-down on dermatologists, cosmetic surgery and how great hair trumps any injections on the market. Until then, take spoiling yourself to a new level by pampering the inside of your body as well as you do the outside. Keep it clean, simple and real and refer religiously to your Beauty Icons to build up your confidence. The closer you get to your natural self, the more confidence you will have.

By Kristina Svensson, January 2013

More advice on food that’s good for you here.


  1. Kimberly in SF says:

    I can’t wait for 4-7. This made me think of how I always wanted to be blonde and blue-eyed, which is pretty difficult with my ethnic heritage. Thanks for this wonderful insight!


  2. Tracy Mamakos says:

    Where do I find the cheapest, yet quality, organic produce?


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