Backhanded Compliment? You’re Much Prettier in Person!

I was talking to a gorgeous local Houston celebrity – a popular news anchor who is absolutely stunning on TV. But there’s something about the TV makeup that causes her to look a bit plastic. So when I saw her in person I thought to myself that her warmth and beauty was so much more apparent in person.

At that point someone else came up to her and said (for probably the umpteenth time) “Oh you are so much prettier in person.” I thought those words but didn’t say it. She turned to me and I told her that I get the same comment, all the time. She replied that she thought it was a backhanded compliment of sorts. She wondered if she looked that bad on TV that so many people said it to her.

I told her that people that see me in photos and then in person always comment the same thing to me. I just am not that photogenic. Sometimes I take a good photo, but more often than not, I look heavier, older, or have a non-natural smile or look.

People are usually pleasantly surprised to see me in the flesh and tell me those dreaded words, “You are much prettier in person.” Or even worse, “Have you lost weight?” Another backhanded compliment if I ever heard one, and one I have written about in previous blogs.

True,  my weight fluctuates because I am in that prime menopausal era of bloating, weight gain and sometimes I control it well, and other times I look puffy.  And you know the camera adds weight, right? I can only stand at certain angles these days otherwise I look like I weight 200 pounds more than I do.

However, I think the real reason that people think I am prettier in person is that to meet me is to get a sense of my warmth, my real smile, and my friendliness. That is what makes me truly attractive, not the blond hair thing or anything else.  Ads I have always told my daughter (with a Beauty and the Beast theme since she was three or four years old) – it is MUCH more important to be beautiful on the inside than the outside. Being beautiful on the inside radiates on the exterior anyway, as far as I am concerned.

I am sure the same is true for that beautiful anchor.  She seems like a warm, nice, genuinely caring individual. So her inner beauty radiates in person, making her the target of all of those same comments.

What do you think? Should that comment create insecurity, as it does for a highly successful anchorwoman and myself? Or is it actually a good compliment? Would love your comments and feedback!

5 comments

  • I get this comment sometimes and I don’t know what to think when it is being said to me. For example when you are online dating you upload pictures that you think make the cut, and when someone messages you; They will say you look “Beautiful” or “Gorgeous” and than when you meet, they come out and say ” You look prettier in person”. Not that I am conceited or my confidence is in overdrive, but it kind of throw me in a loop when that statement is said to me….I don’t know

  • Arlene,If someone says your prettier in person and you feel that you look good in a picture ,it could be taken as you look amazing!Why not look at it as the cup half full. Say thank you for looking better than you thought you looked!!

    • Thanks for commenting Jen, and I actually am a half full cup kind of gal, but I guess if you hear something enough, you start to wonder what people are seeing. Still the whole point of the blog – which I didn’t emphasize nearly enough in retrospect, is that to see a person in person with their warmth and friendliness and personality is the reason for the comments much of the time!!!

  • Don’t think it’s a back-handed compliment – I think it’s a good compliment!! I photograph horribly and my husband agrees! We didn’t have a photographer at our wedding, because my pictures always come out so badly.

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