When I was little, back when I still believed in God as if He were some sort of omnipresent wizard that I'd confused by watching too much Dorothy and Toto, I used to make wishes rather than praying at night. I wished for some silly things. I wished I would fall in love, because I desperately wanted to (and only ever managed it once!) and wished that others would fall in love with me. But my most consistent wish, while curled up in my ankle length nightie with my long hair twisted all around the pillow beside me was to be beautiful. It makes me smile today, in that wry way that only someone who has grown up with that wish and come out an adult on the other side can smile.
I used to watch movies with Mum on Sundays while she ironed, stretched out on the couch as we watched classic old films, and my idea of beauty was heavily influenced by that. I suspect my determination to conquer eyeliner in no small part is related to those days of watching Gregory Peck smoulder at some ingenue and wanting to one day be smouldered at. (Segue, I know that it's unpardonable to end sentences continually with prepositions but I can't help it! They keep popping up, regardless of my careful planning and refusing to move).
My favourite muse was, as with many, Audrey Hepburn. To me she embodied everything I wanted to grow up to be. She was so elegant. She was unusual. She had a fearlessness and yet embodied vulnerability. I loved the contradiction of doe eyes and angles. That she could be so feminine and yet so angular. And it wasn't until I was in my teens, and grappling with growing breasts that never seemed to stop and hips that didn't fit any of the fashions and features I still haven't grown into that I started reading about Audrey, and some of the things she said too. And one thing she said resonated strongly with me, elegant in its simplicity, and yet exactly the right thing for a young, depressed ugly duckling realising on the cusp of adulthood that she was not going to be a swan either to read.