Beauty and Selfies: Filtering Our Obsession

Their sexy poses were capturing the attention of everyone around them, including me. My husband Vance and I were vacationing in Jamaica for seven days and had decided on the Grand Palladium Resort, because of their gorgeous, lush grounds, which reminded us of something out of a travel magazine.

We were soaking up some sun on this day and decided to take a break, so my skin could live another year and stole some shade. Vance was reading a book on his phone, and I was just sitting enjoying the sites and sounds of the luscious resort.

Three young ladies slinked onto the scene and sat down on a couple of chairs a few rows over. They immediately started striking sexy poses and taking selfies. At first, I thought we were on one of those hidden camera shows since this had gone on for five minutes. They were flipping their hair, adjusting their cleavage to get the best angels and puckering their lips.

They were gorgeous women!

Everyone around them was staring, except for the man across from them. He looked to be in his twenties and was sitting with a young woman who may have been his wife or girlfriend. He turned sideways for the next fifteen minutes while the provocative, selfie-show continued and looked at the young woman with him instead. Smart man: he probably swiveled around to save his relationship before his lovely lady clobbered him with her handbag.

What shocked me the most was that it seemed as though they thought they were by themselves. The young women didn’t appear to notice anyone around them, it was as if the ladies were in a world of their own…

Selfie heaven.

I videotaped them for a bit and sent the video to my daughter Charity since they were around her age. We had a good discussion about the selfie-generation, and the effect media has on their self-esteem. I deleted the video because personally, I don’t like to film peoples weaknesses and then display them publicly for criticism.

My husband missed the whole provocative show because his book was somehow more intriguing, and when I told him about the girls later, we laughed.

Recently, I have been taking more selfies because I am a blogger. I am not a selfie-taker by nature. Well, I do love a good photo that makes me look ten years younger, but don’t we all?

*Below is a photo which was done with Airbrush app, which has a five-star rating by seventy-one people and is free. Your teenage girl can be flawless in five minutes. I went for a more dramatic look just to show you how much I can alter my own appearance. Courtney and Charity were easy to make flawless since they are twenty-six and have supple skin. It took double the time to edit myself since I have more wrinkles. The lighting in this photo was full-light, so it really made my wrinkles more noticeable than they are. I was even able to add some make-up, and I consider myself low on the technology scale compared to your average teenager. 


Courtney, Me and Charity.

After I had been blogging for a while, I realized my readers like photos of me. Most likely because my articles are about my everyday life stories; not because I’m a supermodel, although this would bring in more income than blogging 🙂  The photos needed to look clean and crisp and have good coloring, and I usually filter them in some way, so my site looks professional. (By the way, I hope you’re all enjoying my new site, Charity helped me design this new layout.)

I had commented to Charity one day that a lady we both knew always looked so good on Facebook, but when I saw her in person, I didn’t recognize her as the same person. She told me her secret, “Mom she may filter her photos.”


I don’t know about you, but I would rather look better in person than I do in my photos. I imagine with all the online dating, some unsuspecting people are quite shocked when they see their date in real life for the first time and find out they don’t look like Angelina Jolie or Channing Tatum from Hollywood.

For this post, I used a filter for the very first time that can take away all my flaws and wrinkles. It took me all of five minutes, and this was a free app called Photo Editor. If I never left the house, you would think I was thirty-five, but in real life, I am forty-eight.




Shopping Share: Don’t you love my mirror? I bought it at Winners for $40. My sweater is from Meijers and has been a fabulous fall-fashion choice.

If you look closely, you will see in my filtered photo on the left, that I have removed the wrinkles around my eyes, which are many, due to my kids and husband making me smile and laugh over the years. I also whitened my coffee-loving teeth. The dark circles under my eyes, which were shadows, are gone. These can also be removed even if they are from repeatedly rising with your newborn for many nights. Well, my newborns are 20-27 years old now, all five of them.

My face is a book: it tells my story and one I shouldn’t be ashamed of. Last year I was sick, so ill I thought I was dying, and one night I decided to reverse my camera and take a picture of myself…

When I looked at it, I started to weep.

I thought I was going to look haggard for the rest of my life!

My son Kyle, who has autism, had flooded our home many times when he stuffed household items in his toilet and flushed till it overflowed and flooded all three levels of our home. Eventually, our house was overrun with mold and mold spores, and I became very ill. At the same time, I was getting up multiple times a night with Kyle. I was exhausted and sick, and my face began to tell a story of a woman who was being pushed to the edge.


Before and after Laura rescued me.


Then my friend Laura Hottel who is a distributor for Rodan and Fields came along and introduced me to fabulous skin care products and slowly I was able to rebuild more youthful skin. I won’t pretend beauty doesn’t matter to me: it does! If you are a woman unaffected by our current beauty trends and magazine-worthy selfies, then you are a rare woman, and I applaud you!


Deleting the bad ones.

Almost every woman I have taken a photo of asks to see the picture first. Then we delete it and try again if she thinks she looks:

too old,

too fat,

too wrinkled,

or too boring.

We are all affected in some way by media, no matter our age and this isn’t going to disappear into thin air. In the meantime, what can we do to help our generation of perfect-selfie-loving teenagers and young women?

My advice comes from what I believed affected me as a child. Since I was a homely girl, I didn’t receive a lot of praise outside my home.

I wasn’t pretty,

 I wasn’t smart, 

 and I wasn’t talented 

When I was about fourteen and blossomed into a pretty young girl, the world began to notice me, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I had value. There was something about me people finally liked, and they complimented me on my appearance.

It fed a hungry monster inside me that was starving for affirmation.

My dear Uncle John noticed I was beginning to apply more and more eyeliner and eyeshadow, and he would take my face gently in his hands, look into my soul and say:

“Cindy, you are lovely you don’t need all this makeup.”

He made me feel as though I was the loveliest creature this world had ever laid eyes on, but he said it as though he saw my beauty from the inside out: and not the other way around. He caused me to feel valued for the right reasons. He was pleading with me to see what he saw.

He affected the wanna-be supermodel in me.

I began to wear less and less makeup, and I inspired to become the lovely girl Uncle John believed me to be. I want to encourage you today to look into your little girl’s soul and find something beautiful in there. Make her feel as though there is a loveliness inside her that the world needs to discover, no matter what she looks like.

She may begin to believe she has value apart from her appearance.

What would your daughter’s heart look like if we could capture a picture of it? This is our real beauty, and it will cause those around us to value us for something tangible: rather than something filtered.  We need to inspire our girls to make themselves lovely from the inside out.

Show your daughter, sister, or friend the beautiful girl or woman you know she is: instead of the one she captures with filtered lenses.

Real beauty comes from a lovely heart and will not fade with time and age. 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8


Believing and hoping

Cindy Seaton

*If you want some help with your skin then Laura is going to become your best friend. I am going to leave her info here, not because I want to target you, but because Laura sells R and F to pay for her son Victor’s medical needs. Their family’s story changed my life, and you can read my book Beauty from Ashes to find out about Victor’s story and mine.

I will not receive one penny or gift if you contact Laura. This is for your information only 🙂

Contact Laura Hottel on Facebook

or her personal page: Jay and Laura Hottel





Author: cindyseaton69

I am the author of Beauty From Ashes: A Mother's Journey from Bitterness to Hope.

9 thoughts

  1. Great post! I don’t edit my photos except for a filter on Instagram from time to time because, like you said, I want to look the same in real life. I figure, what’s the point in fudging it? When people see me out in the real world, they know I don’t look like that.

    I also adore what your uncle said to and instilled in you. This line particularly really hit me: “What would your daughter’s heart look like if we could capture a picture of it? This is our real beauty…” I don’t have a daughter, but I think it rings true for any young girl, or adult woman. I’ll be taking that idea with me, and trying to put it out into the world.

  2. While I am not apposed to the little photo tricks that make me look my best, I do have to remind myself that this body is just packaging housing the really beautiful stuff inside. Enjoy this post. 🙂

  3. Im right there with Becca! Beautiful post and thank goodness for good family. And oh my have I had my fair share of those moments you described with the girls who were playing oblivious to the world and their antics.

  4. Such a well written article. So many good thoughts and perspective on ether media and how it has influenced us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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