One of the things I've always been struck by is how some women who are famous are automatically thought of as great beauties, even when they're not. A case in point would be Jackie Kennedy:
Yes, she was good-looking, and yes, she was half of the twentieth century's most glamorous couple. And when someone is photographed as much as she was, the effect when you finally see them in person must be electrifying. But she really wasn't any great beauty.
If you didn't know who she was, and saw her for the first time, say, behind a cash register at your local Stop & Shop, and she wasn't all dolled up in the latest expensive fashions, with makeup perfectly applied, you might not even look twice. Her own sister Lee Radziwill was better-looking:
I was idly Google-imaging Anouk Aimee, the French actress, recently, which is what sparked this post. She was a rough contemporary of Jackie's, and in some pictures bore a resemblance to her, but was a real beauty:
The fame phenomenon seemed to apply to Princess Diana:
She was frequently described as a great beauty, but if you look at her face, feature by feature, it's pretty ordinary. Again, given how much she was photographed, she must have seemed magical to those who finally saw her in person. And, of course, having the best makeup artists and hairdressers helped too.
But all that makes you wonder how she would have been perceived if she hadn't been married to Prince Charles, and if she hadn't been famous. I can honestly tell you that if I'd gone to high school with her, she would barely have registered.
I've seen local high school girls, and local housewives, who are far better-looking than either Jackie or Princess Di, though they'll never become famous. And who knows, some of them may lose their looks by middle age anyway. But that doesn't mean they're not better-looking now than Jackie or Di ever were.
Fame, and glamor, are weird things. They put beer goggles on us, even when we're stone sober.