The Beauty Box
Filipa Rodrigues was born and raised in sunny Portugal, Europe. After a year studying Linguistics and Literature, she realized her passion for Theatre was more than just a hobby and decided to pursue it as a career. She earned a BA in Theatre in the prestigious Universidade de Coimbra. She moved to New York City in 2011 and made her Big Apple lead debut as an actress in the show “Our House”, by Theresa Rebeck. A show produced by Carrick Bend Theatre Co. which Filipa also serves as a co-founder. Under the guidance of Robert McQueen, at HB Studios, Filipa found a profound interest in Directing and has dabbled in writing, producing, acting and directing and is currently working on an original web series called ‘What is Love?’, that you can catch via YouTube platform.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a “Beauty Box”, I shall gladly demystify it for you. For a small monthly fee, you get delivered to your door a box of sample sized beauty products that you get to try, boundlessly, without the pesky task of having to buy them full price or painfully commit to the wrong nail polish color.
An array of products and brands at your fingertips, as easy to possess as to discard. Beauty in a bottle. Or spray. Or tube. Reachable and palpable and miraculous. Infinite affordable Beauty. The ultimate American Dream. Delivered to your door.
The doorbell rings. Like clockwork, every month you receive your Beauty Box.
The gleeful subscriber places the box on its lap and opens the enchanted case, face glowing with enthusiasm and eyes glimmering with hope. Golden rays emerge from the box and a deep breath is taken at this very moment. The subscriber picks each item up and analyzes it in excitement. Holding all the products in one hand and observing their small size, the subscriber wonders: “will it be enough?”. You have split-end spray and under-eye cream and cuticle oil and wrinkle serum and a doll-size lipstick – Red Number 5.
The subscriber then smears it all over its face, in a specific order.
A thought-of, consequential, logical order. Or perhaps a made-up sequence. Though the second hypothesis sounds absolutely terrifying.
The subscriber looks in the mirror. First a deep and focused and determined stare. Resolute in finding an absolute variance between the before and after. A forced grin follows, as if saying “It doesn’t work immediately, silly!” and walks away from the mirror, only to return every few hours, glancing, in the hopes something has changed.
It’s bed time and there’s much excitement in the air. Tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow we will be able to see a transformation.
We love tomorrow. It is always so hopeful! (Or so we expect, unreasonably).
The first morning greeting with oneself in the mirror is startling. Nothing has changed. Hair is dry and eyes swollen and cuticles parched and wrinkles set deeper than yesterday.
We love yesterday. It is always so glorious! (Or so we remember, unjustly).
There is a flake of dry skin dangling from the lip. It is tainted red - Red Number 5.
Our subscriber looks and feels the same. Except more jaded and disappointed. The war to achieve infinite affordable Beauty was lost.
If only that stubborn wrinkle had just subsided, all other problems of a besieged young professional would seem much less worrisome.
A Beauty Box is a great idea until we realize that beauty, itself, is a box.
The ultimate box, in my opinion. One in which movement is nearly impossible.
You see, if one is considered “beautiful” it is hard to be considered anything else. You make people uncomfortable or nervous or jealous or drawn to a side of you that impedes them to look at the whole picture. You are either beautiful or powerful. Beautiful or funny. Beautiful or hardworking. Beautiful or intelligent. Never “and”.
And once you are old enough (should I say young enough?) to realize the power your beauty has, there is no turning back.
Attractiveness becomes the only defining quality you believe to possess and people admire you for it. You get used to get your way easily and being asked out frequently and given access to exclusive places effortlessly. You feel blessed by the Beauty gods and you hear its archangels chanting for you, everywhere you go.
Beauty becomes a commodity.
But so do you…
It no longer matters what book you chose last. You are the one that gets picked from the shelf.
It no longer matters how many languages you speak. You are worth more quiet.
It no longer matters what political statement you post on your wall. Let your selfie do the talking.
Quickly, you become terrorized with the idea of losing the only thing that defines you.
As much as all this admiration might be bothersome at times, not having it sounds frightening.
Those devout compliments as you arrive at dinner or the lustful silences you provoke at birthday parties or the nervousness you rouse on a first date…all could vanish, if beauty is lost.
You worry more and eat less. You shop more and live less. You file your nails more and experience less. You layer your foundation more and smile less.
The more effort you put into it, the more appraisal you receive. Then you work even harder to meet these self-established standards; inhumane, selfish and unimportant. Self-imposed, yet required, ritual of beauty. Vacuous and deprived of meaning.
You’re left in fear. Cold sweat drips down your back and you have recurrent dreams of being ugly and undesirable.
The doorbell rings. Like clockwork…
First episode of What is Love?