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Last week, a YouTube video surfaced of former plus-size model Crystal Renn–no stranger to controversy vis-à-vis physical transformation–taping her eyes back in what appeared to be an attempt to look Asian during a Vogue Nippon photo shoot.
While Refinery 29 wondered if eye-taping wasn’t akin to blackface, a disturbing phenomenon that’s reared its ugly head in recent photo shoots, Renn tried to clear things up this week in an interview with Jezebel, maintaining that eye-taping is a model trick frequently used to achieve a “straight brow” (as opposed to an Asian eye):
No one told me at the shoot to tape. It is something that I often do to add to the look of the character if I feel that the look makes sense, and often I suggest it. I have very heavy brows, and they’re more curved than straight, and sometimes when you’re doing a character it might require more of a straight brow. Which sounds like such a small detail, but it can completely transform the face. Lots of actresses do this, models do this — I don’t know how willing models usually are to do it, or if other people suggest it, but I am willing, and I even bring [tape] it in my own kit.
Even though Renn seems sincere, since eye-taping was employed for so many years as a way to make white actors look Asian–in the place of actually hiring Asians–I’m not sure it can ever escape its racist connotations. In fact, in the same interview with Renn, Jezebel points out that eye-taping isn’t even a thing of the past.
So what’s a would-be eye-taper to do?
What Asians have been doing for decades to achieve a, ahem, “curved brow.”
Yes, I mean eyelid surgery, but reverse-engineered:
Extreme, sure. Though people will be too awed by the commitment this sort of body modificasian requires to ever think it’s racist. And it may be expensive, but think of the money one could save over a lifetime on tape!
Or, you know, Vogue Nippon could just hire an Asian model with a naturally “straight brow” the next time and avoid this sticky situation altogether.
Special thanks to Helen for creating “Crystal Wenn”!
Filed under: Asians and Plastic Surgery, Body Modification, Crystal Renn, Crystal Renn Eye-Taping Vogue Nippon, Dolce & Gabbana, Eye-Taping, Eyelid Surgery, Fashion, Fashism, History of Yellowface, Liu Wen, Plastic Surgery, Racial Drag, Racism in Fashion, Vogue, Vogue Nippon, White People Trying to Look Asian, Yellowface
I used my sister’s California drivers license as a fake ID from age 14 to 20. She’s eight years older, four inches shorter, and about 20 pounds lighter than me. I remember using the faker in Vegas with a mouthful of braces to win $160 in blackjack, during high school to get into 21+ shows, and all through college to stock my liquid-soaked house parties with coconut-flavored rum and Wild Turkey. Look, if the person checking my face was too dumb to tell us apart, who was I to point out their inadequacies? And for crying out loud, if a Parrot Bay and Wild Turkey purchase isn’t a dead giveaway of total underage-ness, I don’t know what is.
Is benefiting from some dork thinking all Asians look alike wrong? I don’t know. Do I care? Eh, not really.
Gawker reported this morning that three Japanese Lolitas (image above is not them) crashed Tom Ford’s ultra-secret, 100-seat fashion week party Monday night (just one bash, according to a tipster, of many among “the hottest parties all around town.”) Clad in platforms and pinafores, the trio gained entry by saying that one of them was Vogue Nippon editor-in-chief Mitsuko Watanabe, whose photo is to the right (One can only infer that Watanabe rarely, if ever, rocks her homeland’s esoteric, dirty-little-girl street style).
Unfortunately for the imposter and her party pals, Watanabe had already arrived and was seated in her, er, seat. The jig was quickly up and the girls were sent on their merry way. But the coup did happen–success for the Japanese Lolita tricksters! Can you blame them for trying? And succeeding?
Look, if the hoighty-toighty party list weilders are too stupid to tell them apart…
Filed under: Editors, Fake I.D.s, Fashion Week, Fashism, Gawker, Japanese Lolita Trio, Japanese Lolitas Crash Tom Ford Show, Lolita Fashion, Mitsuko Watanabe, New York, Parrot Bay, Party Crashers, Private Shows, Really Dumb People, Tom Ford, Vogue Magazine, Vogue Nippon, We All Look Alike, Wild Turkey