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Modern Parenthood

Faith Hill braces and Helen Mirren pink hair: Parsing the fairy tale of beauty

Faith Hill braces and Helen Mirren pink hair? As a parent it makes you realize beauty is more a fairytale we tell our children and ourselves at every age.

By Lisa SuhayCorrespondent / February 11, 2013

Faith Hill, left, (with Tim McGraw at the Grammy Awards Feb. 10) has braces; and Helen Mirren wore pink hair to the BAFTAs. A mom parses the fairy tales of beauty we tell our children.

John Shearer/Invision/AP


Norfolk, Va.

The Tooth Fairy and Tinkerbell must be having a field day yesterday at the Grammy Awards as Singer Faith Hill donned Tinsel Town teeth, re-binding teeth that had seen braces in childhood to maintain a perfect smile, while actress Helen Mirren at 67, risked her image on pink pixie-cut hair at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

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Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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As a parent it makes you realize beauty is more a fairytale we tell our children and ourselves at every age.

It seems to me that Ms. Hill and Ms. Mirren are successfully living different roles of the same tale: princess and fairy godmother. I have loved watching Mirren glide effortlessly through a storied life from striking beauty to what People magazine celebrates as, “The first-ever Dame Commander of the British Empire to sport a pastel pink pixie.”

Traditional fairy tales offer women a limited number of roles: pre-princess (before braces, makeup and godmother), perfect princess (fairy and non-fairy variety), chubby jolly comic relief (any age), fairy godmother (witty, comes with silver, pink, or blue hair) and crone.

Crone is the one we continue to run from even throughout adulthood because she’s always evil. Crone is wrinkled, with straggly gray hair, age spots, and of course, really bad teeth. If we look into the magic mirror and see her, it’s time for potions, wires, and other dark magics.

I can’t blame Hill for joining the ranks of other celebs who chose adult dental correction, a group that includes but is not limited to: Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage (who wore braces on his lower teeth at 39) and even Danny Glover who got braces two months shy of his 60th birthday. Vanity thy name is human, not woman. Don’t think for a moment boys aren’t paying attention to the fact that the prince is handsome, vain, buff, and the light sparkles off his teeth, while the alternative is the scrawny, uncoordinated stable boy who never gets the girl.

Who can blame anyone for wanting the winning role, particularly those whose lives are all about role-playing?


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