The most beautiful of ugly ducklings

Last Thursday was the opening night of one of this year’s biggest blockbusters. As I sank into my seat, surrounded by other slightly damp but eager action movie fans, with the gender division pretty 50/50, fashion is a distant memory in my mind. The movie I am literally bursting to see is The Avengers. To further explain my thought stream of great expectations, I am fully aware that this movie contains the fittest of the fit in the shape of eye candy ‘Iron Man’ (Robert Downey Jr.), clean cut handsome ‘Captain America’ (Chris Evans) and the raw sex being ‘Thor’ (Chris Hemsworth). But my hopes are dashed within 60 seconds when I am faced with what was once a fashion ugly duckling, who is now the central female hottie, dressed in a knockout of a little black dress.

I present to you ‘Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff’. Okay, so there had to be some sort of female superhero, as even I would have complained, but for Scarlett Johansson to be cast in the role makes me realise the true power of the fashion industry. The real super power bestowed onto the now slim line shoulders of Ms. Johansson is how fashion can wave a magic wand and turn you into statistically one of FHM’s sexiest women of all time. But boys and girls, things were not always like this.

As Hans Christian Andersen once explained in his fairy tale The Ugly Duckling, even though you may be born not looking conventionally attractive, do not fear as you might blossom into the most stunning member of your pond life. There is hope for all of us, yes indeed children. And this fairy tale lesson is a reality for so many of our best loved clothes horses and sex symbols. There was a time, roughly before 2002, in which Scarlett Johansson was pretty average. She did not stand out from the crowd, was dull, lacked any sparkle but always had an ample bosom mixed in with some baby fat. No one was aware of her existence in the fashion world, fact. But now in one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the last few years, she is in the opening scene, dressed to kill, oozing more sex appeal than any of her fellow superheroes. Her morph into the now campaign girl of Dolce and Gabbana is something close to the transformation witnessed of social outcast Peter Parker into the amazing Spider-Man.

The typical Hollywood makeover, using the tools of designer clothing and immaculate make up can work wonders for failing natural beauty and be the ultimate career Viagra. However, we must applaud Johansson for not reaching for the surgeon’s knife as so many others have. Before we begin to list the many young starlets who have been heavily hinted at being ‘plastic fantastic’, when you take a peak at a few before and after images, it truly is shocking how our icons have changed. Megan Fox’s alleged new cheekbones and new boobs, Sandra Bullock’s alleged new nose, Angelina Jolie’s confirmed new nose and Brad Pitt’s ears being pinned; the list is endless.
Another huge shocker, with many similarities to Johansson, is the apparent surgery free but once seriously iffy-looking Zooey Deschanel. The star of popular films including Elf, is also the face of Rimmel London cosmetics. When you flick through a relatively short timeline of five years of painful pictures, it is utterly bonkers to witness her evolution from one of the most epic of ugly ducklings to now boys and girls’ no.1 poster girl.

Although we have all grown up to understand that fairy tales are just make believe, this evidence speaks for itself. Make a wish upon a star?