Trying to make a Self-Centred and Superficial Country go beyond looks: True Beauty, the reality show

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Something interesting found its way into my inbox today. A lovely Sahar’s blog reader saw a preview to a show called ‘True Beauty’ and knew I’d find it interesting, so he sent it to me (thank you honey).

Here is an excerpt of the official press release from ABC, taken from The Futon Critic:

Executive producers Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher are looking for someone truly beautiful, from the outside in, on “True Beauty”, a new series premiering Monday, January 5, 2009 on ABC.

What makes a person truly beautiful? Executive producers Tyra Banks (…) and Ashton Kutcher (…) re-define the concept of beauty in a wildly revealing new ABC series, “True Beauty” (…).

…the series will determine the “True Beauty” of six stunning females and four handsome males who will live together in a spectacular Los Angeles mansion as they undergo a series of challenges to determine who is truly the most beautiful

The gorgeous contestants assume they’re being judged solely on their outer appearance. They’re only half right; outer beauty is one component the judges are looking for, but contestants are also being evaluated — unbeknownst to them — for their INNER beauty as well when they’re put through scenarios and situations that require them to make moral decisions.

Each episode will showcase an outer beauty and an inner beauty challenge, during which contestants will be judged on everything from how well they perform in photo shoots to how well they respect their elders. The three judges will observe and critique the contestants’ behavior and eliminate one person each week. Only after someone is eliminated will the truth about the show be revealed to him/her, as they watch a video montage of their behavior captured by a hidden camera during the shoot.

At the end of eight episodes, one winner will be declared, a person who is truly beautiful inside and out. That person will receive a cash prize and a spot in PEOPLE magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People issue.

Just like America’s Next Top Model, one of the great things about this show is that we get to see models in their ‘natural’ state; this allows for astute viewers to realise the extent to which pictures are retouched, and just how much make-up does to attenuate less attractive features or enhance the more attractive ones.

However, one might be tempted to argue that the producers are looking yet again for a superficial definition of beauty, i.e. someone physically good looking who happens to have a little something extra. But isn’t that comment in itself prejudiced? Can’t it be said that, just like there are prejudices against people of different ethnic backgrounds, there are also prejudices existing about people who are judged as being more physically attractive?

So maybe this show is promoting real beauty as a combination of physical and non-physical factors, as well as helping shatter some of the prejudices that less attractive people have, as a defence mechanism perhaps, heaped on good looking people for centuries.

I guess we’ll just have to wait for January to see what happens on the various fan forums! Until then, here is the promo of the show (sorry about the bad quality, I couldn’t find anything better).

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