I remember peering in front of the mirror one morning before school. It was just when I started wearing makeup that I noticed a little brown spot-like mole underneath my eye. Scrambling around for a concealer pen, I began to apply layers of an orange, paint-like liquid to my face to cover up the unwanted birthmark, freckle, mole – whatever it’s called. It was only after my mum noticed I’d been hiding my best features to achieve so-called perfection that she turned to me, eyes wise and said, ‘It’s your beauty mark. Why do you keep hiding it?’
Since that day, despite my mini freckle’s awkward positioning in the crevice under my eye, it’s something I’ve learnt to love. Thanks to my mum’s somehow poignant comment, when friends, sometimes strangers, point out other marks such as the pattern of moles on my stomach or even the freckle on my right-hand cheek and ask me, ‘what’s that on your face?’, it reminds me of my unique beauty.
With a belief that it’s the things that make us different that determine who we are, I scoured the internet to discover the history of the famous beauty mark, from its use as a fortune telling system to the creation of the Monroe piercing.
Going dotty for Ancient Moleosophy
At the beginning of history ‘ugly’ and ‘unsightly’ were the words used to describe the beauty mark. An unwanted spot or ‘witch mark’ should be immediately removed in fear that the devil may somehow unleash itself from your body. In the late seventeenth century the Greeks and Chinese practiced moleosophy, a fortune-telling custom that relies on interpreting moles depending on body placement and type. According to this theory, the mole on my cheek means that I am serious with no interest in material pleasures (hmm, not so sure myself). Do you have a mole on your foot? The Greeks say you are easy going and laid back. And if you have hair protruding from your facial mole, congrats, this is seen as a positive!
Red carpet influencers
She is one of the most influential and stylish women in the history of fashion. Marilyn Monroe was the first star to make the mole a desirable characteristic associated with real sex appeal for the 20th century until the present day. She even influenced women and men all over the world to fake it using eyeliner or other cosmetics. Not to forget the popular Monroe piercing, located off-centre and above the top lip to copy Monroe’s iconic mark.
Being one of the most recognisable and famous supermodels in the world, it isn’t hard for Cindy Crawford to look immaculate. Still, British Vogue doubted the appeal of her trademark mole when they removed it completely from their cover in 1987. Cindy openly talks about the fact that she was bullied for the mark at school and has considered getting it surgically removed. Thankfully her mum’s wise words convinced her otherwise.
Ryan Reynolds is definitely a fan of Blake Lively’s mole on her right-hand cheek. How can he not be!? It emphasises her gorgeous smile while giving her an air of individuality. Her gorgeous blonde waves wouldn’t like the same without it.
Embrace your birth mark
Although the fashion and beauty industry can sometimes present a somewhat unattainable perfection as the ideal, these influencers challenge the norm. Women such as Dita Von Teese and Madonna even apply a fake beauty mark to their skin. Now, rather than reaching for my concealer stick, I work around my birth marks to ensure they are visible. I feel lucky that they are natural. In the words of the beauty queen herself, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe