beauty

"I spent two days on the red carpet, and I've never felt worse about myself."

The top of my head is sunburnt and my entire body is wet with sweat. I’ve been standing in the heat for so long that it’s no longer entirely clear who is famous and who is simply absurdly attractive.

But none of that matters, because I’m here to interview four people I won’t have any trouble recognising: Pitch Perfect 3′s Rebel Wilson, Ruby Rose, Brittany Snow and Anna Camp.

Slowly, they’re making their way through a line of journalists and photographers, who are no doubt asking astonishingly similar questions. I almost feel sorry for them, having to stand among crowds for hours and maintain polite conversation when they probably feel like bailing and sitting in a nearby cinema with a frozen coke and popcorn. But then I realise that’s exactly how I feel, and I’m not being paid millions of dollars to be here.

Wait...

I no longer have any sense of sympathy.

Ruby Rose is the first to speak to us, and one thought plays in my mind over and over again: "She doesn't look... real."

She's tinier than she looks on screen, and her teeth are impossibly white. She doesn't have a hair out of place, she's even more beautiful when she speaks, and I cannot for a second fathom how we belong to the same species.

She makes a joke and I laugh too hard. I'm acting weird like I always do when I'm struck by someone's... face.

When Anna Camp walks past, it's my colleague Laura's turn to ask the questions. I'm meant to try to take a decent photo and record audio of the conversation - both of which I forget to do. I became distracted, you see.

LISTEN: Laura and I debrief on all the Red Carpet happenings on our pop culture podcast, The Binge. Post continues after audio.

Anna Camp's dress sits as though it was made specifically for her, which it probably was. No matter how she stands or what she does, she looks as though she's been intentionally placed there, photographed, and edited.

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But she's not airbrushed, because she's standing right in front of me.

Rebel Wilson's smile hits you long before you speak to her. It lights up her entire face, which is perfectly proportioned and makes you immediately like her. She doesn't have a strand of regrowth and her skin is immaculate. Like Rose, she's smaller than she looks on screen, and her red dress fits and flatters like nothing I've ever worn.

When Brittany Snow approaches us, again I feel silly for being so taken aback by her appearance. She stands with a posture that seems alien to me. She's so straight, and while she's short, the way she stands gives her the aura of someone who's very, very tall. Her face is... bright. Her hair and eyes and lips and teeth and skin make her striking, and I think about how when you have that face, it would be impossible to ever look washed out.

Meanwhile, if I'm not wearing mascara, I might be mistaken for a person with literally no facial features.

Even with her mouth open, mid-sentence, without knowledge a photo is being taken, she looks... beautiful. Image supplied.

These are the same series of thoughts I had yesterday on the ARIAs red carpet. I stare at legs and arms and hair and faces in awe, because I didn't know people really looked like that. They're thin in a way you don't see when you walk down the street. Their eyebrows are... immaculate. Their hair is perfectly coloured and styled and no one's nail polish is chipped off.

There is such a substantial divide between what I look like and what these people look like that to be honest, I'm not even mad... I'm impressed.

Lol, just kidding, I feel like absolute shit.

You can't help but feel acutely aware of your general 'messiness' when you're on a red carpet. Of your crooked teeth and regrowth, your weird distribution of weight, your daggy clothes and your stumpy hands. It sucks, but it's the truth.

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A red carpet is like Instagram on steroids, or the real-life manifestation of all those random beautiful girls you stalk on Facebook. But despite my overwhelming sense of inadequacy, I learn two things.

The Pitch Perfect 3 cast at the Australian premiere. Image via Getty.

First, it would be near impossible to be a part of the entertainment industry and not develop a distorted view of reality when it comes to what people really look like. The people you work with, for the most part, are very thin, very young, and very attractive. I have a newfound understanding of the inclination towards plastic surgery in Hollywood because there's an entirely different standard for how your face and body should look. No one's normal. Botox and veneers would surely be necessary just to fit in.

Second, the importance of people like Rebel Wilson in this environment cannot be overstated.

At the Pitch Perfect 3 premiere, the loudest cheer from the fans was for Wilson.

She's unmistakably beautiful, but in a sea of women whose bodies could be almost interchangeable, she's different. When you look around a red carpet, there's an implicit rule about who is allowed on that side of the rope. And Wilson breaks it. Without saying a word, she says that women don't have to be tiny to be adored. They don't have to feel like crap for not fitting into a narrow definition of what women are supposed to look like, and they don't have to look a certain way to have value.

In the future, I'm sure I'll go to more red carpets and continue to be struck by how ridiculously attractive people in the entertainment industry are. I'll stumble over my words because I don't understand how so many beautiful features could by chance fall on the same person. But something tells me that behind the stunning veneer, this world isn't what it seems. And in 2017, it looks like it's changing.

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