Makeup. Hair. Wardrobe.
Even after more than 20 years in the business sometimes working in TV can still feel pretty glamorous. But it can also create a lot of artificial expectations about standards of beauty. With media in general, when Photoshop and other manipulations are involved, it can even create issues of low self-esteem and self-doubt in the viewer.
The issue really hit home when my co-host Kris Reyes told me that during a weekend lunch her three-year-old niece, Ella, said "You don't look like you look on your show." It made us all think about beauty, image and responsibility -- as broadcasters and as people -- so we decided to challenge ourselves.
Producer Marisa Zucaro and I proposed to the rest of the group that we "take it all off" on the air. In other words, we would grab some makeup wipes and towels and just sit there, live, and take off every trace of makeup so all the world could see our "real" faces. To their great credit everyone was game for the experiment and the feedback from our audience was incredible.
Immediately blog entries and e-mails came in telling us how refreshing it was to see people be honest about the artifice, and I'm not saying artifice is bad -- with blazing studio lights and high definition cameras it's absolutely necessary -- but for one moment it was nice to let it all hang out. No one seemed to care about our pimples, crow's feet or blotches. Imagine that.