kids

'You’re routinely underestimated.' The 9 untold benefits of being an ugly child.

We were ugly children.

It’s not a matter of opinion; you don’t have to say, “Oh, err… no, you were cute.” It’s fine. We accept it and we’ve come to terms with it.

'I'm a female baby who looks like Robin Williams.' Image: Supplied. 

Over the years, we have reflected at length on our ugly childhood. There was the eye patch stage (an optometrist would never have done that to a beautiful kid), there was the no front teeth phase (ugly children lose both their front teeth at the same time), there was the bowl cut phase (was it entirely necessary for Nan to cut our hair?), and there was even the bulky retainer phase (which, in hindsight, was... a good call).

It’s not that we think we're attractive now, but there is a definite improvement. One of us grew into our ears, and the other (pictured above) tragically had Benjamin Button syndrome – she was born an old man and has gradually grown into her skin.

At times it was tough. Our grandmother assured us that we were just ugly ducklings who would “blossom” (she actually said that… she had no deteriorative brain condition to excuse it… she just really thought we were ugly).

'At least I'm resilient.' Image: Supplied.

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It is no secret the world is skewed in favour of beautiful people. They make more money, we trust them more, the law favours them, their grandmothers don’t call them ‘ugly ducklings’ when they’re five years old, and they don’t become memes without their permission. 

Jessie in her prime. Image: Supplied.

But there’s a case to be made for the benefits of being an ugly child. Here are just a few of the benefits:

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You develop hobbies and/or talents.

Ugly kids have to entertain other hobbies, and develop important life skills in order to compensate for the way they look. You will often find that ugly children are great with computers, or are high academic achievers, or find a sport that they excel in. Only an ugly kid would learn how to juggle. Beautiful children do not have the time or the resolve to pursue such a pastime.

Dear Lord you better develop some hobbies and FAST. Image: Supplied.

You learn very young that life isn’t fair.

We feel a lot of sympathy for beautiful people. They are brought up under the impression they are special and important. Life favours them, and their childhood only gets their hopes up. We, on the other hand, knew from a distressingly young age that life was never going to be fair. We got all the disappointment out of the way during our first encounter with a mirror.

There were/are no superficial friendships.

Growing up, we never had to worry that people only liked us for the way we looked. 

In fact, lots of people probably didn't like us because of the way we looked.

Pls piggy. Image: Supplied.

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In hindsight, perhaps it was lucky that we never had to filter through people to find those who were worth being friends with. It’s not like our friends were going to drop us if we got a bad haircut (because we already had a bad haircut). 

The friends we made when we were five are still our friends, because they are clearly good, non-judgemental human beings. 

You never use your looks as currency.

It’s just… not an option. Go straight to plan B.

You learn how to win beautiful people over.

It’s quite easy. They know they’re beautiful, so as soon as you compliment them, you have a shared interest, which is their beauty. People can’t manipulate you with compliments – you’re fool proof. You want to seriously try to tell me that one of my distorted features is pretty? F**k off.

You’re routinely underestimated.

Because of your face, a lot of people assume you struggle with life. Don’t get us wrong, you definitely do, but the good news is it’s not hard to exceed everyone’s expectations. 

When people who knew you when you were a kid find out you are a mildly functional adult, who finished school and managed not to become a viral meme, they are understandably impressed. 

Thanks?

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Being the perpetual underdog means you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

You learn to be ‘funny’.

Joan Rivers famously said, “There is not one female comic who was beautiful as a little girl”. 

This is probably (definitely) true. 

You see, given that beauty is the most culturally revered quality in women, beautiful people a) don’t have to try with the funny thing and b) get positive reinforcement when they're not funny. This really screws with your comedic gauge. 

When you’re ugly, you know that when people laugh, what you said must have been funny. 

There's comic relief from looking at old photos.

It’s not nostalgic. It certainly isn’t beautiful. But taking a trip down memory lane is always, always hilarious.

Things can only get better.

Peaking too young is something ugly children never have to worry about. It’s all up from here. With braces, hair dye, make-up, and various other technologies, the future is underpinned with hope. 

Also, when other people’s beauty starts to fade, the repertoire of skills you acquired as a child can be put to good use.

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So yes, as children, we battled. If witch hunts were still a thing, we would have been burnt at the stake, and in the ancient world, we would have been offered as sacrifice. An uncle once genuinely asked our mum “are they… okay?” with grave concern. Yes, we are okay, and in fact, the weird genes that came together to produce these strange looking babies:

HELLO MR PHOTOGRAPHER MAN DO U THINK WE'RE BEAUTIFUL. Image: Supplied.

...have probably come in handy in the long run.

For more from Clare and Jessie Stephens, you can follow them on Instagram or listen to their podcast, Cancelled