Look better with camera tricks

I have been feeling particularly ugly for a year or so now, what with my stupid hair being stupid and my skin feeling saggy because I’ve had to stop taking collagen supplements since moving to the UK (because they don’t have Meiji and Fancl here).

(Disclaimer: I don’t know that collagen supplements really work but I had taken them for years and felt okay about myself. Since coming to the UK, I have felt progressively older and uglier, although it could be due to the air being very dry here, or it could be just plain old aging, so I don’t know, lol.)


Women and beauty supplements


Last Saturday evening, while Piers and I were at a pub waiting for his friends to arrive, I decided to play around with my camera because I suddenly remembered it has a Soft Skin mode to “shoot more beautiful skin”.

Piers had bought me a Sony Cyber-shot (DSC-WX80) a few months ago to replace my iPhone camera (yes, I had been using my iPhone camera for nearly two years because my Lumix had sensor dust in it and I never got around to sending it back).


Sony DSC-WX80


I chose this model out of all the cameras in the store based on the merits of its compactness and pretty white looks, which shows how serious I am about photography.

So, while Piers was sipping his beer, and I was ignoring my Pimm’s cocktail in favour of camwhoring, I turned on Soft Skin mode, took a self-portrait and looked at the playback display.


Soft Skin mode


“Wow!” I said, “The soft skin mode has made me pretty again!”

I showed Piers the photo and he looked at me quizzically. “Hon, you look exactly like that in real life.”

I said, “No, no, the camera has smoothened out my face so I look much better!”

Piers rolled his eyes and said, “I think you have face dysmorphia.”

Yeah, sure, whatever.


The face of a person with face dysmorphia


I think Piers is quite blind. He can’t even tell whether I’ve got makeup on or not most of the time, which might make one think that he is just being sweet, trying to throw in a subtle compliment, but I think the truth is that he is genuinely blind.

I did look better on the camera playback because of the soft focus effect and the fact that playbacks are small in size (and I tend to look better when you can hardly see me).

I don’t think the photos look so nice after viewing them on my computer now. But they’re still better than usual.

I prefer my old Lumix’s beautiful skin mode though. Instead of making it a soft focus effect, it has some kind of special flash to make your skin glow. Kinda like this:


Glowy skin effect


Anyway, I made Piers take more photos of me before his friends finally arrived and I quite liked them. Maybe it was just a good day.

I usually have to take a hundred photos before I’m satisfied with one, but that day, I only had to take about 20 before I could find one I liked.



One more for the road


The next day, I experimented some more. I tried Soft Skin mode and Background Defocus and couldn’t decide which I liked more.

Soft Skin:


Soft skin


Background Defocus:


Background defocus


So, basically, soft skin blurs out your face while background defocus blurs everything but. Lol, stupid camera tricks, although I have to admit it’s handy and saves you from having to photoshop your photos.

Well, okay, I definitely look better with Soft Skin cos who doesn’t? But background defocus photos look more professional so I like them better, even if they make me look ugly.

Anyway, I quickly got tired of looking at my stupid face so I stopped taking photos of myself. I was at Piers’ parents’ house for a barbeque to take advantage of the rare warm and sunny day and there were dogs and a baby, which were much better (although harder) subjects to photograph. But I will leave that for another day.

I will do more “camera experiments” (which are in fact nothing more than vanity posts in disguise) in the future so keep coming back and keep reading!

In the meantime, allow me to leave you with some sage advice:

Do not believe every photo you see on the Internet! Between makeup and camera tricks and photoshop, no one is what they look like anymore. So, caveat emptor and have a nice week!

The vanity of women

It’s tough having to look good all the time. People criticise us when we go out looking imperfect, as if it offends them.

“Your hair looks wrong today.”

Funny hair

Then they stare at you expectantly, as if they need an answer from you to explain the offense.

I’m not joking. That happens.

Then, an awkward moment happens when you stare back at them helplessly, wondering what the heck they expect you to say.

“I’m sorry my hair isn’t perfect today. Would your highness kindly wait while I zip into the salon for a complete makeover?”

So, you spend a lot of time making sure you look perfect enough to avoid stupid statements that are delivered in the form of accusations.


If you look good enough, you might even earn a compliment.

“Your hair looks great today.”

Which is always nice. Never mind whether you’re vain or not, receiving a compliment is always nicer (and easier) than receiving a perplexing accusation.

Which is why I tend to spend quite a bit of time dressing up to avoid awkward moments.

At other times, I just avoid social situations totally.

So, on the night of the Singapore Blog Awards, it was with a bit of apprehension that I made my second attempt to curl my newly-dyed hair.

If you remember, my first attempt was an astounding disaster. I had to hide the failure in a ponytail.

Emo punk goth

I did a little better the second time, after learning from my mistakes. The front parts of my hair curled beautifully. I was heartened.

And then I did the back.

And I became Medusa.


So, then, I had half a head of beautiful curls (front) and half a head of angry, hissing curls (back). I could feel all the accusations sitting on the sidelines waiting to be born.

I didn’t want to do the ponytail thing again because ponytails are too unglam for the prestigious Singapore Blog Awards, and there was no time to straighten out the hair to do it all over.

So I brooded and considered calling in dead.

As I sat there brooding, a flash of inspiration struck me. I will hide the disaster in braids!

It was a perfect solution. I carefully forced the hissy curls into two side braids while leaving the nice curls alone… and it looked messy nice!



I felt like a genius!

I was ready to face the world!


Well, the rest you know already. I went on to receive the Best Lifestyle Blog Award, which was an awesome cap to a great night.



I had a bit of trouble lugging my prizes home. The Goonfather and I looked really bulked up with all the stuff while walking to the carpark. I wanted to take a picture of us then, but I had no more hands free to do it.


Most of the bulk came from the Koka noodles.

Koka noodles

The noodles in the two cartons and the hamper are my prize. The loose ones are from the goodie bags the Goonfather and I received combined. Scary!

A lot of it has been given away to relatives, though. I also invited my friends to come over to take their pick but they never did. I think they were scared off when I showed them the photo above. I have weird friends.

Full list of prizes I got:

  • Trophy designed by Tan Swie Hian, a renowned artist. (He did the floor calligraphy at Chinatown MRT Station.)
  • Award certificate.
  • 3D2N stay at Sugar Palm Grand, Hillside, Phuket worth $800.
  • $500 voucher from Play Smart (a gadgets shop).
  • 52 packets/bowls of Koka noodles.
  • Tons of Transformers premiums (3 posters, notebook, lanyard, cube, dog tag, soundtrack CD).
  • Star Trek mouse and mousepad that also serves as a USB hub.
  • Supperclub CD.
  • Fast & Furious 4 cap.
  • Monsters Vs Aliens notebook.
  • Laptop bag by Fabrix.


Laptop bag

It was fun going through the bag to see what they gave me. Like unwrapping presents!

But that’s beside the point.

The point of this blog is that, no matter how nice your hair, makeup and clothes look during the day, it all disappears when the night’s over, although not as dramatic as Cinderella.

And then you have to do it all over again the next day (or the next time you step out of the house, anyway).

What a waste of time!

If only people would stop harping on the way we look all the time.

Whee! License to camwhore! (Lots of photos)

This week’s Star Blog topic:

I look into the mirror — and what do I see?

Well, I see what I see. I see a face staring back at me. And I decide to camwhore.


I considered being all philosophical about it and talking about the stuff beyond the skin. But there’s so much stuff beyond the skin that I could write a book about it.


So I finally decided to just take a lot of photos and talk about camwhoring.

Click to read and view more photos.

Hairy issue

Recently, a MediaCorp executive producer complained to me, “You’ve looked the same for years and years. Every time I see you on TV, you have that long, rebonded hair look. It’s time for a change, you know.”

Now, that was quite hurtful because:

1. My hair is not rebonded.

2. It’s not my fault that MediaCorp stylists prefer leaving my hair ramrod straight instead of giving me fanciful hairstyles.

3. I have had many jobs in which I looked totally different. Like in I Not Stupid Too and in that Kao Magiclean commercial.

Now, of course, I did not say all that to the EP because EPs are very busy people and have no time to entertain the whines of struggling nobody actresses. And I’m not being facetious by saying that. I live by that rule of thumb: Never whine or grumble in the face of people to whom you owe your living.

So, I was moved to look into the matter myself.

I went home and activated the folders where I keep the pictures of my past shoots. Then, I made a montage of a hundred versions of my scary face to compare the hair.

Fine. There aren’t a hundred faces here, but it’s close enough.

After making the montage, I was taken aback by the realisation that the executive producer was quite right. I look the same in most of these photos. Whether my fringe is long or short, whether it’s brushed back or windswept or hanging like a curtain, even when it’s all tied up, I look the freaking same.

It’s that horrid limp, straight hair that looks like it’s been painted onto my scalp. (Except in the picture on the 2nd column, 2nd row. That one’s a wig. But, see, even when they put wigs on me, they manage to make me look as similar as ever.)

So. I shall have to do something drastic to prevent people from getting sick of my long, straight, black hair. I’m sure it is very irritating to always see me looking the same on screen. I myself feel irritated by it. I’ve had long, straight, black hair since I was two years old.

At various points of my life, I have made attempts to change my hairstyle but, unfortunately, it always grows back long and straight.

So, this time, I shall cut my hair really short and colour it and maybe end up with something like this:


The only problem is that I’m always in-between jobs and auditions and I can’t cut my hair until I totally have no projects lined up and I haven’t been to an audition in the last two months.

Which is quite impossible because I can’t NOT go for auditions. How would I survive?

I am in quite a conundrum, aren’t I?