Role models become role models, when you acknowledge them for their actions and for their conscious decision of being a little bit different (mostly better) from the rest – who- or whatever “the rest” is. However, role models need a certain audience to fully become role models in the first place. Only with that audience role models can use their position to influence other people. For instance Beth Ditto of the outstanding band Gossip, who is aware of her function as a role model – for overweight and therefore harassed people. She tries to change things by simply talking about it, hoping but not knowing whether she might succeed in the end.
I always thought of Amy MacDonald to be a good role model for someone who is young, extremely talented but … also way too introvert and unalluring (as in: not fulfilling the mainstream criteria for beauty) to make it in a all idol influenced pop scene – but somehow she did. I love her songs. I like her lyrics a lot and I really find her utterly inspiring. I loved to see her live in concert about a year ago in a pretty small venue. Back then she seemed like a down to earth girl, with an old pair of jeans and Chucks, a shy smile, very charming, with two pounds more on her hips … and a very beautiful voice, authentically performing her songs with a lot of heart to it and soul. That was last year. Unfortunately she gave away her role model status very recently – at least for me…
I saw her opening the IFA in Berlin a few days ago and I was shocked. She must have lost at least 15 pounds, her hair seemed to be cut by the same hair dresser Paris Hilton or the Olson twins are choosing, and she was peroxide blonde. To top it: she wore high heels. When she performed the first songs, it was more than obvious that there was something unfitting. Was she bored to perform the same songs over and over again for the last three years? Did she feel well in her clothes? Was she asked to dress up like that? What was that change? And to my utter surprise: I thought she looked good, although she didn’t seem to have much fun performing. At first I didn’t know what to think of it … and I am still puzzled.
I like change, quite a bit. Why am I disappointed to see her dress up for the American market? Why does it shock me to find her mainstream look attractive? And what the hell was it, that I was so utterly missing. By the end of the concert, I knew. Somehow with the pounds and her brown, long hair – she lost her charm.
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