Katie Couric taped the episode of her talk show Katie that aired Friday makeup-free as an act of solidarity with her featured guest, Phoebe Baker Hyde, who made an experiment of going makeup and salon-free for a year.
Of course this isn’t the first time a talk show host has taped a show without a lick of foundation and mascara, the hosts of The Talk all went au natural last September, but it’s still a scary thing for anyone to go bare faced on television.
The show raised questions about what makeup, hair color and styling, and fashion means to women and their self-esteem. Phoebe, who wrote a book called The Beauty Experiment about her beauty and fashion free life, came up with the idea in 2007 after she had just given birth to her baby and found herself in a career lull. She had just relocated to Hong Kong for her husband’s job, and found herself feeling adrift and ugly. She had an event to dress up for, and bought herself a new dress, thinking it would make her feel better. When it didn’t, she decided to forgo all outward accoutrements and look for beauty on the inside:
I looked at my reflection and despaired. As an exhausted young mother I felt ugly and saw that a new dress or face cream would never help. I was at risk of passing on a habit of feeling miserable about my looks to my baby girl—if nothing changed.
The show lightly dealt with the question that the beauty industry pedals unhappiness and dissatisfaction with yourself. There is truth to that, but is the beauty industry all bad? In the end, like all things, it comes down to balance. Sometimes dressing up and putting on a little makeup can genuinely be a pick-me-up, but if you’d unhappy with yourself, no amount of lip gloss or designer shoes are going to make you feel better.
Photo: Katie Couric’s Instagram