I have chipmunk cheeks.
It's just the way my face is shaped. I envy women with cheekbones. No matter how much weight I ever lose, my cheeks will still be chubby, and people will still think I'm a teenager instead of a thirty-something. It's my lot in life.
When I smile, it's even worse. My face explodes, widening like some creature from the Black Lagoon.
So with my current author photo (on my profile up there), which I've had for two books now, I've had many people meet me in person and tell me I really should get a new one because I've OBVIOUSLY lost a lot of weight since it was taken. I'm so much thinner in person.
Uh, no. I haven't lost weight. Really. I mean, thanks for thinking I'm thin, but I'm the same person.
In many of those book signings, I might have even had a few more pounds on me than in that photo. But I wasn't grinning at them at the signing, and hence my cheeks weren't sticking out and making me look fat. After explaining this, I demonstrate, and they step back, saying "Wow," as if I'm a scientific freak because smiling makes my face go wide.
Right now I actually am an itty bitty bit thinner than in that photo, if you can count five pounds as a significant weight loss, which I doubt. But if I smile, my cheeks still jut out like the Jabba the Hut's.
I got the same reaction from a reader at yesterday's book signing, this time from a gal who hailed from New Mexico. (Hi, Elizabeth!) She flipped to the back of my book and said, "You know, you really should get a new author photo. You've lost so much weight since this was taken. At least twenty pounds."
I smiled (whoops--big mistake) and gritted my teeth.
On one hand, I have been planning on getting a new photo for several months, and if I don't get one taken soon, I'm out of luck for getting it in the new book. The current one was taken May of 2004, so yeah, it's time for a change.
My hair's different now. Maybe the new 'do helps. (It's a little straighter now; maybe it hides the cheeks a bit?)
So what do I do? Frown in pictures so my cheeks don't hit LA and New York? Just stare at the camera without smiling?
They say the camera adds ten pounds. For me, smiling adds twenty.
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