I love Charlotte Gainsbourg. Partly it's because of her movies — but mostly it's her underbite.
Gainsbourg discusses her acting and singing careers in an interview with AnOther magazine, and she's impressive in both spheres. I especially liked her in My Wife Is An Actress and Love, Etc. — maybe slightly less so in The Science of Sleep, but only because her character was written as too much of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She tends to project a mysterious quality and a sense that even her characters don't fully understand their own motivations — a sense borne out, perhaps, by her statement that, "What I do and the decisions I make – whether to make music or be in a film – are very instinctive and I only understand much later, in retrospect, my reasons for doing things." But: the underbite.
Every kid has her own insecurities, but many of mine started at the orthodontist. Told I had catastrophic bite problems that would pretty much destroy all my teeth by adulthood, I had to wear a medieval-looking palate expander that spread my front top teeth apart in jack-o-lantern fashion. Then while braces worked to close the gaps up, I was given a "bumper" for my lower jaw which pushed my lip out Neanderthal-style. Eventually all this hardware did its work and I emerged with medically acceptable teeth, but also with something of an obsession with my jaw. I was sure my profile looked weird. My upper lip was small, my lower lip was big. My chin was sort of jutting. The obsession faded as I entered college, but I was still pretty convinced people shouldn't see me from the side — until I saw Charlotte Gainsbourg.
I look far from exactly like Gainsbourg (there's a reason she's my fantasy casting choice for the movie of my life). But she does have a prominent chin and slightly thin lips, a profile that's not traditionally Hollywood-hot yet is totally familiar to me. She also violates Hollywood ideals in a few other ways — she's small-breasted, and while she's always beautifully dressed, she frequently shows up to events with messy hair and minimal makeup:
Of course, Gainsbourg's also thin, and white, and clear-skinned, and rich enough to be able to afford gorgeous designer outfits, so her stardom isn't really breaking down any enormous boundaries. But she is unconventional-looking, and it was seeing her on screen that made me realize a woman didn't have to conform to every convention in order to be beautiful.
Other Jezebel staffers have had similar experiences. Of the gorgeous Thandie Newton, Dodai says, "I relate to her look; brown skin, curly hair and button nose — especially when i was younger and there weren't a lot of people who looked like that in the movies or on TV." I would add that I'd kill for the dress/necklace/eye-makeup combo Newton's rocking above.
Katy's a fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal, in part because "I find her really pretty, but in a sort of unconventional way (she's the kind of interesting pretty I always wanted to be as a teenager. More stunning than "hot girl")." And Intern Maura loves Zooey Deschanel's look: "I frequently try to copy the way she styles her hair (I also have pale skin, dark hair, and blue eyes), and I love her clothes." But she also girl-crushes on Mindy Kaling for reasons both substantive and sartorial:
I loved her on the Office from the beginning, and finding out she was a writer on the show took it to whole new levels—plus her old blog, Things I've Bought That I Love, and now her tweets...I can only imagine how awkward I would be if I ever met her. I think she's an amazing role model, she has terrific style, and is one of the funniest women in entertainment right now. Love. Love. Love.
Charlotte Gainsbourg [AnOther]