Who are You in a world with no Cameras or Mirrors?

What you see in the mirror isn't you!While we were traveling across the northern states of India last month in a van with my middle school son and daughter squabbling in the back, I suddenly heard my son say, “Did you know that fashion models have the highest suicide rate.”  The statement definitely caught my attention for two reasons.  First, the word “suicide” and second “fashion models.”

I stopped whatever I was reading and asked him, “Where did you get that from?”  He claimed that he had read it in Time magazine.   Given that my area of interest is to gain more awareness of the Ego, and fashion is somewhat related to it, I wanted to explore this further and learn more.

So, upon our  return home, I started researching the area.  While I could not find the Time magazine article that he was referring to, nor find any evidence to support his statement, I did come across this amazing interview on CNN with supermodel Cameron Russell which beautifully captures some of the tricks that our mind can play and responsible for confusing generations of young women.

Click here to view the interview titled “Model’s frank talk: How I REALLY look”

I was so thrilled to see Cameron Russell expose some of the hidden aspects of their glamorous job and life that I searched and watched her entire TEDx talk.   I would urge all of you to see it below and share it, especially with your daughters.

For a while I have been pondering the idea, “Who would you be in a world without any mirrors or cameras to show you what you look like?”  Having watched these videos, I would need to further expand my question to include airbrushing and Photoshop.

Could you even imagine how that might affect the interactions between people?  Just for a moment, consider that you have no idea what you look like, no one to compare with, and just get to see the other person.  How would they even present themselves, wear make-up or would they rely on the cooperation and partnership with others?  Wow! I can’t imagine it for long at all.

Going back to a post titled “Does every day seem like Halloween to you? Trick-or-Treat?” that I wrote during 2012 Halloween, I wanted to excerpt a passage here.  Yes, our family takes many long road trips and we are already the brunt of many workplace jokes.

Recently, my eleven year old daughter and I were traveling on a long road trip.  Since I needed something to keep us occupied, I asked her, “Imagine a world without mirrors and cameras so that no one could see how they looked like?” Promptly she responded, “They would go to the river and see their reflection.”  While it was a response that I hadn’t expected, I noticed that we were driving along a creek.

When I told her that they would not be allowed to see their reflection in the water or use any other method, I was dumb-founded to hear incredible words of wisdom from my eleven year old.  Since I was driving, I asked her to write them down for me to save and share.  She said, “You will see more of your true inner beauty.  People will judge you based on your actions, not your looks.”

I would really like to hear your opinions about my question?  I am also amazed with what I continually learn from my kids.

Peace and be well,


About Krishna Pendyala

Author of "Beyond the PIG and the APE: Realizing SUCCESS and true HAPPINESS". I am a life coach, speaker and workshop leader. My vision is to enhance life on our planet by raising awareness of the ego, in a simple manner. My commitment is to empower men and women make better choices to achieve joy and fulfillment, without protracted struggles or huge personal crises. I believe we can create an enlightened society where inner awareness empowers people to thrive in harmony.
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4 Responses to Who are You in a world with no Cameras or Mirrors?

  1. Nagaraj says:

    You seem to overlooking the fact that we are creatures of communication. I am sure we would figure out how we look like without mirrors or camera or a reflection in water. For example some one can draw a portrait of you. They can describe to you how you look like by comparing you to other people that you can see. If we remove communication also from the mix, then there simply isn’t any point to this question because it wouldn’t matter. While many people are concerned about their looks it only lasts for a while. As you grow older it becomes less important. I would like to offer the counter argument that people will still judge by looks because they can see every one else anyway. Even today most people judge other people by looks independent of how they themselves look.
    Looks have a purpose. All creatures have two basic purposes in life at the minimum. Survival and propagation. In our world, looks play an important role in the species propagation.

    • I enjoyed reading your comments Nagraj, thank you.

      I do accept your counter argument. I was sharing my daughter’s comment as it comes from a child’s perspective. My guess is that before the Ego develops and grows, especially in children, they see the world very differently. The need for comparison and judgment comes from the Ego.

      I also like your comment in the end, “In our world looks play an important role…”

      Does this have anything to do with our conditioning?

      Sent from my iPad

  2. Alfred Mancini says:

    I’m not convinced about my thoughts on this, but I think your daughter raises a legitimate point, ie. somehow those who value their physical appearance will always find a way to enhance their looks, while other less-caring individuals will do so to a lesser degree.

    • I am so glad that this topic is generating a good exchange. My intention is to explore and reflect by asking some unconventional questions to make us pause and look at the world and our lives from a different vantage point. There is no right or wrong in this approach, just raising our awareness through multiple perspectives. Thank you, Al.

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