Haven’t you heard about the newest face-sculpting carb? Recently, Olivia Munn lit up the Internet when she posted a close-up photo of her face on Instagram—a face that, some suggest, looks more like Cher—and pretty much gave us all hope that, in addition to exercise and topical astringent, eating a potato can save us all from knives and syringes. Some media gave in to her claim, others suggested Olivia was not being so truthful. Regardless, doesn’t this make us all look a little foolish?
Here’s the story: Munn credits her drastic change to weight loss (training for her upcoming role in X-men), a different approach to eyebrows, using Proactiv Pads (for which she is a spokesperson), and most importantly, Satsuma Imo Japanese sweet potatoes, which are high in hyaluronic acid, a natural compound known to plump skin. She says she eats them daily, which is why her face looks so different. Olivia, how many potatoes are we talking, here?
“I’m convinced that there’s got to be natural, healthy ways to keep your skin from aging,” explains Munn. “I do lots of research.” Well, at Charlotte’s Book, so do we. And so do most physicians, aestheticians, skincare lines, and pharmaceutical companies. There are literally billions of dollars spent on it each year. From independent billionaires funding stem cell research to Allergan’s $9 Billion R&D budget, anti-aging is big business. Some pharmaceutical companies have even said spending on anti-aging research is as important as Alzheimer’s research. And yet, no word of this potato yet.
This is not to say that these potatoes don’t have anti-aging benefits; they do. Satsuma Imo sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants and vitamin A—they trump the Idaho white with fewer carbs (24 grams vs. 37 grams) and calories (113 vs. 170). You can learn more about it in the video Munn references in her recent post: ‘Connie Chung Yuzihara.’ And this isn’t the first time she’s given these spuds her respect—she’s been dishing about them for at least a year, so there is some truth to her testimony. But even if someone ate 27 of these potatoes every day for 5 consecutive years, there’s no chance it would result in facial reconstruction.
Now, Charlotte’s Book is explicitly against shaming of any kind—no Botox shaming, no plastic surgery shaming, and so on. But we are also huge proponents of transparency within the industry and realistic expectation management. So when a respected public figure claims she achieved complete facial metamorphosis by way of eating a purple Japanese potato—no matter how much exercise and good brow maintenance contributed—we have to speak up.
It wasn’t too long ago when we were defending Renée Zellweger for having to refute her plastic surgery allegations. Like most celebs, she didn’t completely fess up. “I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion,” she said. And we took her side. Why? Because frankly, she shouldn’t have to explain herself if she doesn’t want to, and neither should Olivia. Stay quiet if you very well choose, but to give the public false hope in a potato is just absurd.
Still, we don’t blame Olivia. We live in a society that honors total beauty and yet condemns those who try to achieve it. Sure, it’s a tough pill to swallow when a public figure makes a big, in-your-face adjustment and claims it was there all along (stop insulting my intelligence, Khloe!). But how can we blame her when the public is easier on people who lie about not getting plastic surgery than those who admit to having the work done? The stigma associated with having work done compels people to lie about it: it’s better to be a little dishonest than to be a vain, egotistical, shallow, self-absorbed, superficial narcissist who wasn’t born ageless and perfect. Therefore, many celebs will stop at nothing to ensure their reputations stay as flawless as their skin and not dare confess that a knife or syringe is responsible.
But if it’s okay for us to paint our faces and nails, dye and extend our hair, spray our bodies darker, pad our bras, wear six-inch heels, and nearly suffocate ourselves with a pair of spanks, why isn’t it okay to give our faces some surgical lifting or artificial enhancements? This makes no sense.
Olivia probably just wanted to turn back time and go on with her life, but because she was photographed looking a little like Cher she was hassled until she had no choice but to tell us to go eat a potato. Perhaps we got what we deserved. Why couldn’t we have just appreciated that she underwent some pain to look better for herself, if not for us fans, and just accept her new look? I know it’s hard to do—my heart was broken when Jennifer Grey’s nose job made her look nothing like Baby Houseman—but we’ve got to learn how to love, accept, and support each other no matter what.
So from now on, do what you want to look and feel your best, and let others do the same. Be proud. Be kind. Be honest. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some purple potatoes… just in case.