Lifetime Achievement Award:

The Beauty Mark in "My Week with Marilyn" and "The Artist"

How to describe her?  Let’s count the ways. Small.  Dark. Flat. Either left or right leaning, never in the center.  Discrete.  Distinctive.  Enduring.  Long a Hollywood staple, the Beauty Mark had a huge comeback in 2011, proving her to be the “Go-to” lesion once again.

She was front and foremost in the silent film tribute, “The Artist.”  Jean Dujardin is looking for something to boost the fame of fledgling ingénue Bérénice Bejo.  Stating that she needed something unique to make her stand out from the other starlet wanna-be’s, he uses an eyebrow pencil to place a beauty mark on her upper lip. 

Bejo’s film career takes off.  The mark is so important to providing her recognition that her first feature film is actually called “Beauty Spot.” 

In “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,”  a low level operative becomes enchanted with a Russian spy.  Is his smitten with her Balalaika skills, or her small exclamation point of a mole?

And of course, no biopic of film phenom Marilyn Monroe would be complete with her signature facial accent:  the mark that lit up a thousand marquees. Many have raved over Michelle Williams’ turn as the troubled icon in “My Week with Marilyn.”  Yet without the help of makeup artistry recreating Monroe’s signature spot, Williams wouldn’t have had a chance.

The Beauty Mark had an established career before the invention of celluloid, used to heighten the features of the aristocracy.  Some have postulated that marks were used to conceal small pox scars.  The mole’s enduring popularity has survived into an era where smallpox, and even chickenpox, are being eradicated with the use of vaccines. 

Blake Lively
Eva Mendes

Actresses Blake Lively and Eva Mendes are among the countless celebs whose small asymmetric facial moles accentuate their success.

What is the secret of this career longevity?  In childhood and adolescence, most moles initially develop as distinct, flat and dark lesions.  Later, with age, those same spots can become more raised, flesh toned and droopy, looking more warty than winsome.  As an American Idol coach, Lady Gaga created a lesion that looked Ga-ga-garish, like a birthmark gone bad.

Also, much like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.  Beauty marks are strategically situated near the mouth or eyes, features that are proportionately larger in young adults.  For example, a dark spot on the tip of the nose is not usually associated with glamour.  The Beauty of the Mark is therefore its association with youth and fertility, aspects that like the spot itself, never seem to go out of style.

Runner-up, Lifetime Achievement Award:
The Facial Scar

In this year’s tightest Skinnies matchup, the Hollywood facial scar scored a just a cut below the beauty mark. Since scars can ID both bad guys as well as heroes (a certain Muggle loving wizard for example), we expect big things for The Scar next year.

© 1996-2012 Vail Reese M.D.

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