Does Faking An Eye Condition Challenge The Beauty Standards Debate?

Feature Image: Instagram @Krotchy

American model, Sarah McDaniel, is known for having one brown eye and one blue eye. As the cover of Playboy magazine’s first non-nude issue in March 2016, she fully embraces what many deem to be a flaw, stating ‘A lot of people don’t like that I enhance it, but I think that it’s beautiful.’

The 23-year-old is at the height of her career, using social media to channel her deserved body-confidence. However, Sarah has recently been accused by @celebface of faking heterochromia iridum – the lifelong condition known to cause her eye colour difference.

The Instagram account, @celebface, has been praised for revealing how celebrities edit their photos to doctrine their bodies. Uniquely, celebface doesn’t carry out this investigative research with the aim to slander.

Indeed, rather than aiming to widely bully a celebrity the account is kept on private and simply shows before and after images in order to reveal the actual figure rather than the photoshopped one. In doing so, we are able to view a less warped version of beauty from influential people of today.

Interestingly, the story creates a difficult debate.

If the eyes are fake, what does this say on how we view beauty today?

Does having a unique and atypical appearance provide an increased number of job opportunities? Do you have to have a ‘suffer story’ to ‘make it’ big?

In an interview with Stephen Colbert (and elsewhere), Sarah claims to have been bullied growing up. Her relationship with her homosexual father is troubling, and after a public suggestion that she is homophobic, he subsequently released an image of her as a child with two identical brown eyes. Sarah supposedly wears soft contact lenses to create her unique appearance.

200,000 people are born with Heteros (different) Chromas (colour) each year, and it is usually a condition of the iris, but it can also affect the hair and the skin. Several sources also claim that Sarah has in fact undergone a permanent procedure.

Where there was once a currency in being ‘perfect’ and aspirational, today there is a currency in being – somehow – different. With the fast-growing conversation on defying female beauty standards in large media outlets, it has become a way for people to gain a sort of ‘fame’ – with that fame they can then lead to brand deals, sponsorships and a foundation of a successful online career.

It’s great to see a larger reflection of ‘real’ women on our screens, but, what if some are faking it? The idea that we each have to be distinct in order to maintain a coveted position has certainly been taken too far.

Read more on the eye condition here.