It's time to let go of the one extremely boring, extremely plastic standard of beauty that's constantly shoved down your throat and show off your beauty's third dimension. How? By putting your quirky innards on display for all to see. Here's the 411.
I'm uber pale: There was a time when I'd tan just to have everyone else's natural skin color. I'm also scrawny, so that means going to war against the Anorexic Joke Comedy Tour. I'm almost 30 but I look 12, so going to the bar involves having my ID checked by a guard who's always younger than me. To top it off, I look perpetually bored (a la Kristen Stewart), and although my face says nothing more than, "Hi, I'm Krissy's face," when I go out I have to spend the entire night reassuring people that I am, in fact, having a good time — since, you know, I look like I want to off myself.
I used to be extremely self-conscious about my quirks, especially since I don't think there's one thing about me that isn't off-center (and if there is, I'll wonder what it's doing there). It happens to all of us: The more people comment on the things that make us stand out, the more exposed and vulnerable we feel. While standing out is a good thing, many of us get so fed up with people constantly picking at our "flaws" that we try to water them down — I mean seriously, who wants to feel like a walking SNL spoof?
Your quirks are your signature, and it's when you flaunt your weirdness like a boss that your life takes shape. (Kind of like those movies where the characters live in black and white and then suddenly everything's in color.) Sure, I'm scrawny and pasty and when I look in the mirror I think of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, but I save a lot of money on psych bills by writing about it instead. Win-win. Once you find your win-win and own what makes you… well, you, you're going to feel free (like, frolicking in a meadow singing "The Hills Are Alive" kind of free) and that feeling will translate to your physical appearance, too.
Here's how to strut your stuff from the inside out:
I was once so self-conscious I couldn't even be myself by myself (I wish I was joking). What makes the Lena Dunhams and Jennifer Lawrences of the world so fabulous is that what you see is what you get: They're not putting on a show or trying to be "like" anybody else. They stand out completely on their own merits and have become insanely successful because of it. Comfortable equals confident.
Focus on who you are and what you do
Another thing that goes hand in hand with being comfortable is focusing your energy on who you are and what you want to accomplish instead of how you look. Powerful women are hot. Period.
Forget about what's hot in fashion or in music, or in anything really — focus on the styles, music and interests that will always define you. This is one of the best ways to bring your authentic personality to the surface. Bonus: A strong definition of yourself automatically shields you from negative influences and protects what's important to you.
Highlight your favorite features
It's natural to be self-conscious about certain aspects of yourself, but what's the point of dwelling on them? Why not focus on the aspects of yourself you do love? I'm not just talking about your smoldering eyes or toothpaste commercial teeth; I'm also referring to your strongest personality traits. What amazing things can you do in your life because of them? Then do them.
Don't worry, be healthy
Yes, women like Jennifer Aniston and Alicia Keys are extremely gorg, but they're also extremely healthy. They weren't just handed that wonderful glow and complexion — they work their little tuckuses off to keep their bodies and minds in shape. Which reminds me, I forgot to exercise… the entire decade.
Nothing shows off who you are better than your smile. When you smile about all the wonderfulness that is you, you're basically saying, "Yeah, I know." Like a moth to a flame, grasshoppers. Like a moth to a flame. Before you know it, you'll be looking at yourself in the mirror just to say, "How you doin'?"
Or, you know, when all else fails you could pull a J-Law, who said in her November 2013 interview with Harper's Bazaar U.K.: "If anybody even tries to whisper the word 'diet,' I'm like, 'You can go f*** yourself.'" That works, too.
More beauty tips:
Historic women with true inner beauty
How to eat better so you look better
Inside and outside: How inner health affects outward beauty