It isn’t always talked about, but those we consider beautiful don’t always feel that way. In a society dominated by social media, it can be hard to believe, but it’s quite true.
So what’s to be said of those with mass appeal, who fail to see what others see when they look in the mirror?
DeAndre doesn’t promise any answers to that question. But what he does have is a compelling story of his own journey, as he struggles to love and embrace what he sees in the mirror.
I like to think that I am pretty—I think everyone is in their own way. But a lot of times I don’t believe I am. In my eyes, there are hotter people than me, and I wouldn’t want to date myself. If I were to see myself down the street, I would think that I’m cute, but I wouldn’t be interested. Part of that is because I’m the complete opposite of what I’m attracted to. And since I’m very insecure about my physique, I don’t know if I could say I’m beautiful.
In some cases, I’ve been called beautiful by others. I’ve even attracted the attention of photographers, but I don’t see what they see. I wish I did. It’s actually the complete opposite. What I see kind of terrifies me sometimes. I’m 28 years old and all my life I’ve been thin. It literally affects a lot of things, from my ability to be intimate with others, self-esteem, even how I carry myself.
For instance, I went to Fire Island, and I wanted to go out. But instead of just putting on a speedo like everyone else, I had to try to show the parts of my body that I liked, while hiding the parts that I didn’t. So, I ended up wearing a harness to cover up the parts of me I thought were too skinny. But at the same time, I think that’s kind of stupid to feel that way. I shouldn’t care. I should want to just go and have fun and be confident in my body. But I’m not.
In some cases, I’ve been called beautiful by others. I’ve even attracted the attention of photographers, but I don’t see what they see. I wish I did. It’s actually the complete opposite.
But it’s very difficult to do that sometimes because the gay scene is very judgmental. At Fire Island, there you are in the middle of an enormous crowd, and just when you start to feel good about yourself, you see a guy with an eight pack. When that happens, I’m ready to go home because I’m very self-conscious about my weight. And even though my friends say to just wait until I’m older, which is when I should see myself naturally filling out, I don’t see anything changing. It really bothers me, and it factors a lot into how I view myself.
Another example is when I used to dance at a bar in the city. On one particular night, there was this guy who was super nice to me. Throughout the night, we’d always lock eyes and he always smiled. When I went outside to smoke a cigarette, I overheard him talking to the bouncer saying, “I would totally get with him, if he wasn’t a coke whore.” I was shocked and really hurt. I thought that was the rudest thing I’d ever heard. I couldn’t believe he said that about me. So, all of a sudden a great night turned awful, and that became the only voice in my head.
Despite the fact that some people consider me very attractive and I model quite a bit, moments like that seem to tear down everything that I’ve built up when it comes liking what I see when I look in the mirror. It’s like there’s a voice in my head that only sees the things that are wrong with me. And I assume everyone else sees the same thing: the parts of me that are too skinny, imperfect, or that I don’t consider to be beautiful.
A photographer asked me what I saw when I looked in the mirror. And I immediately replied, “I’m too skinny.” He said, “I never once told you to tell me about the negative things, but that’s all you mentioned.”
When I hear comments like when that guy called me a coke whore, I don’t question whether it’s true or not. I don’t consider that something might have been wrong with him, and he was just trying to make me feel bad. I simply believe what he said to be true. And that’s when I fall apart, and I go from having a very good day to a very bad day.
I didn’t realize how bad I saw myself until after I had a simple, but powerful conversation with a photographer. He asked me what I saw when I looked in the mirror. And I immediately replied, “I’m too skinny” and I told him about all the other things that I felt were wrong with me.
That’s when he said, “I just asked what you saw when you looked in the mirror. I never once told you to tell me about the negative things, but that’s all you mentioned about yourself.” That helped me realize I have to work harder to embrace who I am and how I see myself. I’m slowly coming around and I’m working on what I can, but it’s hard.