Quick quiz: do you recognise this woman?

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Recently, I sent this photo to a friend with a question: WHO DIS?

"No idea," she replied.

"Try harder." I texted back.

"Bec Judd," she guessed. Incorrectly.

I’m easily bored, and she was never going to get it right so I sent two more photos.

Image: Getty.


Image: Instagram/@enews

"SHUT UP NO WAY" was the immediate response and yeah, look, I wouldn’t have guessed Jennifer Love Hewitt either. Not in eleven million years.

Naturally, this sent me down a JLH rabbit hole and I have the following to report:

The actress, best known for Party of Five, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Ghost Whisperer is now 44.

She is apparently the inspiration for John Mayer’s song 'Your Body Is A Wonderland' which is frankly a delightful thing for someone to say or sing about your body so that’s lovely.


She’s worked solidly throughout her career and since 2018 she’s been starring in a show called 911 which sounds dramatic and medical adjacent.

And this is what Wiki says about her personal life:

In June 2013, Hewitt announced that she was engaged and expecting her first child with co-star, Brian Hallisay. On November 20, 2013, Hewitt and Hallisay married. Their daughter, Autumn James, was born a few days later in November 2013. In June 2015, the couple had a boy, Atticus James. In September 2021, Hewitt and Hallisay welcomed their third child, a son named Aidan James.

So in case you were worried (I was, mildly), we don’t have to file JLH under "90s Stars Who Have Fallen On Hard Times" because she seems to be doing great.

Yet she is, as ENews rightly noted, unrecognisable. And I’m not quite sure what to do with this information. Why am I even telling you?

Because I think I’m trying to make sense of what it means when people are able to completely alter the way they look with surgery and then filters on top of that. And by people I mean famous women. It feels... unsettling? Confusing? Alarming?

And here’s a plot twist: the caption on that Insta post said "Jennifer Love Hewitt is unrecognisable after haircut transformation" but that photo was actually the 'before' shot.

This is the after:


Image: Instagram/@jenniferlovehewitt

SIDEBAR: I once heard a cosmetic surgeon give a tip for people who didn’t want people to notice that they’d had work: get a dramatic haircut so people think that’s what’s different about you (I got a fringe recently, shut up).

"Aging in Hollywood is really hard," Jennifer Hewitt said recently on the podcast Inside of You. "It's really hard because you can't do anything right." The actress went on to discuss the backlash and attention that followed this post-hair appointment selfie.


"I was getting my hair done and I had not a stitch of makeup on so I threw on a filter," she said. "And it was just a filter that at the time, looked nice in the light at the salon. I really gave it no thought."

There’s a school of feminist thought that insists we should never talk about a woman’s face or body because it’s objectifying and reductive and a woman’s value should never be indexed to her appearance.

I am not enrolled in that school. I think it’s simplistic, idealistic and censorious — even if I agree with it in theory. Because there’s how things should be and then there’s how things are and wanting something to be true does not make it so.

Women are still valued by how we look. And actresses, models x 1000. My reaction to famous women who have altered their appearance used to be anger which is a weird thing to feel about someone else’s face. So a few years ago I did a bit of reflecting and remembered that hiding behind anger is almost always fear.

Was I scared of losing my own value in society as I aged? Yes. And I remain scared of that because I’m a woman who lives in the world and that’s the song we’ve all heard on repeat since we were old enough to feel insecure: you’re not pretty/skinny/young enough.

The Daily Mail uses the word 'unrecognisable' all the time as code for 'older' and also for 'had-a-lot-of-surgery'. Another trope they use is "X doesn’t look like this anymore!" with a photo of X when they were 20 and then you have to click to see them now, aged 40. Gotcha! Old!

But in the case of celebrities like JLH, what does it mean to be truly unrecognisable? Sometimes it can feel like famous women are all morphing into the same person whether it’s due to injectables or filters or both. It can honestly be tricky to know what a real person looks like when you’re flicking through Instagram.


And to whose benefit? If you use heavy filters and Facetune to alter the size and shape of your body and features, how do you feel about the gap between what you see in the mirror or the shower and what you see on your screen?

Is there tension in that gap? Shame? Pressure? And do those feelings cause the gap to widen further as you reach for more procedures, more filters?

Or perhaps it’s a more even playing field now that it doesn’t matter what you’re born with; beauty can be bought permanently in a doctor’s office or filtered temporarily in a photo.

I reject the premise that talking about these things is 'judging' women or 'tearing women down'. Please. We have eyes. We have brains. We are able to see things and reflect on them in ways that help us try to make sense of this new world with its new cosmetic and digital beauty standards.

We can play the ball not the woman. Look, we just did.

Feature image: Instagram/@enews

This story was originally published in September 2023 and has since been updated with new information.

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