Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Fold

Fellow Fusion author, An Na's book "The Fold" just came out today and I look forward to reading it with great interest. In it, an Asian girl is offered the chance to get plastic surgery done on her eyes to give it the coveted Caucasian eye fold.

And this surgery is quite common across Asia, especially in Taiwan. Having those eye folds are mandates of beauty; something I experienced up close and personally.

Because at my photo shoot for my new author photo (my new novel is a Chinese folktale-inspired fantasy--since it takes place in an imagined reality, I thought it fit to have the author photo be a bit of a flight from the imagination as well), my eyes were the first thing that were changed. The make-up artist, after taking off my glasses, cut pieces of thin plastic and glued them to my eyelids and, voila!, I had eye folds. I had misgivings about the entire procedure but was persuaded by the studio workers' coos of admiration.

And that is how they took me bouncing into the studio looking like this:

Into this:

Yikes! (I also was instructed not to smile in the photos which is why I am smirking in all of them). Obviously, I have regrets.

Because now I, the me I know, am unrecognizable in the photos (the only good ones were the ones where I was looking down when the fake folds were not as noticeable). I realized, in that moment I allowed myself to choose between being "beautiful" and myself, when the original goal of the photos was to achieve both. I hope the character in An Na's book realizes the same.


MotherReader said...

Loved An Na's first book, less crazy about her second, looking forward to this one very much. I have to admit that I never knew about nor thought about the fold thing, so I'm curious.

Thanks for sharing the "scary" photos too. I like the one you chose, but I like the one of just you happy against your red background most of all.

Meghan McCarthy said...

I don't thin the photos are bad, Grace. I'm not really noticing these folds but maybe I'm not looking closely enough. What's so appealing about the folds, anyway? It's just one more thing that can sag when you get old and who wants that?

alvinaling said...

Generally, folds are desirable because you can wear eye makeup better. Sounds ridiculous, but that's my impression. Perhaps this is why I rarely ever wear makeup. I think, perhaps, having a fold also makes your eyes look bigger. At any rate, just like having pale/white skin (go to most Asian countries and you'll see tons of skin whitening cosmetics on the shelf), having an eye fold is considered more "caucasian" and thus desirable.

You look so glamorous in your "before" picture! I don't think the folds are that noticeable in these pics, but your smile/expression is certainly awkward. Overall, all these pics are beautiful! And of course we can use them as your author photo in the new novel! ;)

Rita said...

That photo of you bouncing into the studio is pretty sweet. (I'm for using that one! You look imaginative and like someone who has great flights of fancy just walking down the street; like someone everyone should know!) Of course all of these are fun, including the ones with the red background. :D

I remember a conversation four or five years ago with six people where the one non-Asian among us (Caucasian) had never heard of this fold issue. He was even more astonished to be told in no uncertain terms that he had them and rushed to the bathroom to look. He came back laughing. "They're quite pronounced, actually!"

I grew up only having one. In person it wasn't noticeable (I like to think!!), but in photos the one eye (that had it) always looked much bigger than the other. So whenever this topic came up (one girl in our southern California high school had the surgery done, and we were never really sure whether she was *as* pretty, after; or whether we were just biased from having known her before), I would half-heartedly wonder if it would ever become worth my while someday to do the second eye, just to quit with the asymmetric situation. But the second fold appeared on its own, freshman year of college. It would come and go (it usually only left when I went home, so no one believed me) but had clearly come to stay by the next year.

It's never been as strong as the first one, though. When I had Taiwan photos done, they used that tape to even the two out, and I told myself that wasn't cheating. My mom minded the huge fake eyelashes, though. Heh.

I love Taiwan photos! Everyone should do them! The idea of using them for anything is a new one to me--but fitting, given your book. (I am really taken with that street photo, though. [And look at those stairs! What a great background!])

Christine Tripp said...

just like having pale/white skin (go to most Asian countries and you'll see tons of skin whitening cosmetics on the shelf), having an eye fold is considered more "caucasian" and thus desirable.

...and we "pale/white" caucasian's spend a ton of money and energy(risking our physical health at times) to mask that paleness, humans are hilarious when you really think about them:)
Meghan, agreed! Folds (not that when you have them you really think about them) are just another reminder of age. Applying Eyeshadow is never the same once those folds thin out and start to get that "crepe paper" look to them:)
I like the photo of the young, hip, bouncy Grace coming down the steps best but I also think the middle photo with the slight, closed smile, very beautiful.