Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lucky lookers

Is the grass greener when you are good-looking? GRACE CHEN finds out.
Let’s not be na├»ve. Of course, the grass is greener when you are good-looking! As one photographer remarks, “If a woman is beautiful, she will have the world at her feet!”
This guy, who prefers to go unnamed, says his former bosses in the advertising industry would hire drop-dead, gorgeous girls as accounts executives and send them off to see clients in micro-mini skirts. The idea is to win (or seduce?) the client over.

Amy Liu
Err, wait a minute! Won’t these clients, the so-called “mature” decision-makers, see through the ploy? Won’t they scrutinise the proposals objectively before they give the OK? “Come on,” says the cameraman, “you have a guy who is married for 30 years to a wife who is probably a battleaxe. You send in this drop-dead gorgeous chick, and I tell you, he is going to be struck blind by her beauty.”
Which leaves one with some pretty disturbing thoughts: Are men dumb or what? Do beautiful women think nothing of using their good looks for material gains?
Here is what Amy Lui, 28, Miss Malaysia Petite 1997, has to say:
“Most guys would hope to go out with a girl who is beautiful and famous. It’s a way of showing off, of saying: ‘Look at my date compared to yours’. When you are beautiful, there are more chances for you to have the best picks. I know some girls who enter beauty contests just so they can meet rich people.”
Lui says there is no denying that beauty can help open doors. She still remembers the glory days when she was a freshly-crowned beauty queen.
“When I was sent to Texas to represent Malaysia in the Miss Petite International pageant, I was given the red carpet treatment and limo-driven to my hotel. When I came home, I was always a special guest at parties. I also got a job as personal assistant to the deputy director of Marlboro Malaysian Grand Prix. I dealt with the directors of international companies and all the top bikers, like Michael Doohan. It was a flattering time,” she smiles.
“The work (as a pageant winner) can be very easy. Just because you have the look, you can get RM500 to RM1,000 just for cutting a ribbon or showing up at a function. Once you are used to that life, it’s very hard to come out of it. But behind the scenes, you have to do a lot of entertaining.

Andrew Tan
And one may be limited by one’s beauty. “If a beautiful girl wants to have a normal life, she still has to work her way up the same way as everybody else. If she just depends on her looks, there are very few choices for her. Her looks can’t sustain her for long,’’ says Lui, who is still single.
“Beautiful people are not necessarily happier,” says Andrew Tan, the owner of Andrew’s Models.
“But they are usually able to project a happier image, so usually from a distance, they might seem so. And yes, they are definitely more confident as they would probably learn from a very young age that they can usually get what they want by turning on their ‘charm’.”
Tan says after 18 years in the modelling business, he has become desensitised to beautiful people.
“This is a good thing because it allows me to see the models for the people they truly are, and most of them are really nice – inside and out!”
Arguably, most of us aren’t as casual around beautiful people as Tan.
Lui, for one, says that winning her title has led to her being the entrepreneur she is today. By her own reckoning, being beautiful gave her a 40% leg-up. Today, she runs an events management company.
“When you are beautiful, people will pay attention to you. At the end of the day, I still feel that being beautiful is a good thing and you should not be afraid to flaunt it as long as you are using it for a good cause,” maintains Lui, who says she sometimes uses her looks to organise charity events.
Looks will not get you very far along the career path, says Lek Siok King, human resources manager at General Electric Company.
Lek, 37, insists that subjective criteria like beauty are not – and should not – be a factor in identifying and nurturing talent.
“Ultimately, I think competency, product knowledge, good negotiation tactics and communication skills are what count,” says Lek.
She, herself, prefers to hire people who are well-rounded and positive because “in the long run, workmates will prefer competency and responsibility from a colleague beyond all else”.
“Good looks may help a person feel more confident, but it won’t last beyond the first few days if they do not have qualities like integrity and teamwork (ethics),” maintains Lek.
Are there disadvantages to looking good?
“People think beautiful people can’t work,” says Lui, “because they have bad tempers and they want everything done for them.
“I feel that they want more of everything. Most will have a tougher life because they always want perfection. Even now I feel that I am not beautiful enough. I still want to look better.”
English/Spanish model Vanessa Woolley, 24, says, “Being beautiful is definitely a blessing. You do meet friends a lot easier, and people tend to accept you more easily as well. But beauty is just an outer point of view. What really matters is what’s within. You can be ugly but if you have that beauty within, it will shine brightly no matter what you look like.” W