Like most people who use LinkedIn or have a professional presence, I had a professional headshot taken two years ago. While the photo is beautiful and I love it for a million reasons, I struggle with whether or not I'm being honest by having this photo out in the world as a representation of me.
Like I said, I love the photo. My skin is flawless and supple. My make-up in on point. My hair is perfect. My teeth are super white. My eyes sparkle. I look stunning. What's not to love?
I don't look like the woman in this photo.
The woman in the photo has not one wrinkle, freckle, or blemish. She has perfect eyebrows, high cheekbones, and a cute nose.
In real life, my skin is good. Most of the time. I have rosacea, so there are days when my skin is dry, red, and has some breakouts. (Side note: What the hell? I'm almost 46! Why do I still have acne?) Yes, makeup can cover it up, but nothing covers it up perfectly.
I have relatively few wrinkles, but I'm grateful and proud of the laugh lines and crows feet. They've all been well-earned by living my life. Living all of my life, the good and the bad. I view them as proof that I have life experience that only comes through being 46 or 56 or 66 or 86 or 106.
My hair isn't always perfect. Actually, the thick head of hair I had for so many years has become baby fine. My teeth are fine, but not blinding white because I drink too much caffeine.
I recall someone saying, "she's gorgeous, but she looks NOTHING like her headshot" about a woman I know professionally. Like me, her headshot had been lightly retouched to erase imperfections. Is it better to use a headshot that shows our real selves, crows feet and all, or to have a photo that makes us look flawless and youthful?
I recognize that it's important to put my best self out there, especially when searching for a job or a spouse. But when did the image of my best self become someone who can't show up on a date or a job interview because she doesn't exist except in exquisitely retouched photos? Isn't my real authentic self my best self?
I don't know what the correct answer is, but I'm feeling like maybe it's time to let my headshot show off the real me. What do you think?
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