September 24, 2009

Beauty and brains…

Posted in Between Us column, Health, Relationships, Television, Women at 5:52 am by dinaheng

For every woman who’s ever worried about being fat, attracting the right guy, or being recognized for our talent at work, Lifetime’s new series “Drop Dead Diva” (Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern) is a must watch.

In the show, a shallow model-in-training who’s convinced that her looks are the key to success dies in a sudden accident and — karma be blessed — finds her soul transported into the body of a brainy, plus-size, about-to-be deceased attorney.dinah-eng-21

Brooke Elliott, who stars as the spirit of Deb in the body of attorney Jane Bingum, is a delight to watch each week as the newly reincarnated soul learns what it means to be truly committed to others, and uses her own ditzy talents to bring joy and justice to those around her.

“We all relate to having things not go the way we planned,” says Elliott, whose Broadway stage credits include roles in “The Pirate Queen” and “Taboo.” “It would be great if people were able to walk away from the show with a sense of their own worth and their own beauty.”

That, of course, is what we all wish for every day, whether we realize it or not. Whether we’re at work or at home, spending time with friends or family, we look for the situations where we feel most comfortable. We prefer being with people who accept us as we are.

The challenge lies in stretching our boundaries, and being who we are in a world of people who would rather we be like them.

“We all think differently on different days, and behave differently in different situations,” Elliott says. “As an actress, I love the complexity of playing two different people — it’s Deb’s soul and Jane’s behavior.

“I relate to Deb’s joy for life. She fights for what she believes is right. Jane’s got loyalty,  passion, and works hard, and I have that in me. But we’re all everything, not just one aspect of a person.”

It’s in allowing all the different parts of us to emerge that we become truly whole.

Most of the time, we look at “developing” different sides of ourselves as drudgery.  We think we have to “work” at losing that extra 10 lbs., or learning a new skill. Could we see it as  “fun” to do the things that would bring greater happiness into our lives? Could we let go of our fear of what would happen if we tried on that new behavior?

“I think all of us have times where we’re judged for our looks, and not for what we can or cannot do,” Elliott says.

How many times do people see a person’s intellect, and not the beauty of the soul? How many times do we judge ourselves for not being what “society” deems beautiful?  And who is society, anyway, but us?

Beautiful women without brains are just as much a stereotype as brainy women without beauty. The truth is, every woman is beautiful and every woman has a brain.

We just have to create that balance for ourselves.


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