Selfie confidence

Why leave the selfie game to Kim K? Emma Simkin gives Violet her top 10 tips on how to take the #perfectselfie

Emma Simkin

12/400 on the camera rollEmma Simkin

It was a party and I was sat alone on the kitchen floor, re-arranging alphabetical fridge magnets to make the words ‘eggy fart’. Grossly engaged with this serious task at hand, it took me some time to realise that my phone was missing. Luckily, missing phones are pretty easy to locate by the sound of other people giggling. Unluckily, in my case the giggling was far more of a guffaw – i.e. the ‘Emma’s really embarrassed herself and it’s really funny for us’ guffaw.

Initial thought – they’ve found nudes on my phone. I could swear I’d deleted everything, but there’s always one cheeky cheek shot left behind. Secretly, I was rather pleased; I’ve been to the gym three times this year, so I’m basically Beyonce. Still, I was concerned - did I get the angle that makes my butt look like the peach emoji or whatever those #fitspo girls Insta about?

But the situation was more dire than I thought. They found selfies. This isn’t a problem for most people, but I am not most people; if all my selfies were actual clones of me, I could populate a small town. I’ve never understood how some girls can whack out their phone, take a single selfie and, voila! – they’re practically Kate Moss. After about 300 selfies, I might find two I like. Problem is, I don’t dispose of the evidence. Deleting a selfie requires looking at it, but I will never want to see that trout pout ever again, so the selfie will be left to float in the void of my general photo gallery. The result is an army of cloned Emma Simkins, all pulling the same vacant facial expression that says less ‘edgy model polaroid’ and more ‘practiced this gaze for 15 minutes because the edgy Turf kids do it’.

“I was concerned - did I get the angle that makes my butt look like the peach emoji or whatever those #fitspo girls Insta about?”

To the other people like me (the ones who snap hundreds of pictures and still look like a thirteen year old using the front facing camera on their Blackberry) these are the steps on how to waste hours of your life taking selfies:

Step One: Makeup. The most important part of makeup is getting the eyebrows to do the thing where they look sculpted and magical, but don’t look like ferret tails. It’s hard when half your eyebrows are toilet brush bristles because once, long ago, I tried to shave them (I didn’t pay much attention to the warnings of Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging).

Step Two: Don’t shave your eyebrows.

Step Three: Pep talk. Big yourself up for the show, look in the mirror and shout at your eyebrows ‘name a more iconic duo, motherfuckers!’. Now you wish you were on America’s Next Top Model, and your parents wish that they had had a son.

Step Four: Lighting. Shuffle frantically around for the spot that makes you glow like the angel you are. Push people out the way, step on cats. Nothing should get in your way – it’s your time to shine.

Step Five: Head angle. Tilt your face so you don’t look like an egg, somehow work out how people do that sucky in thing with their cheekbones without looking like a fish, etc. It doesn’t matter if your neck starts to cramp, power on through. Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.

Step Six: Content. What is the location? What props will you use? Selfies are a dramatic art. Set your stage. Maybe you want a gap year selfie, showing everyone how altruistic (read: white saviour) you are by volunteering in Africa, which is really believable when you use an orphan as a prop – #gapyaaah. Maybe you want a couple selfie to upload every few days, showing everyone you still have the same boyfriend as last week – #relationshipgoals. Maybe you want a gym mirror selfie, showing everyone your impressive ability contort your body until your bum looks like Kim K’s – #fitspo. Put a lot of thought into this, you’re going to look like an idiot, but you might as well look like the sort of idiot you aspire to be.

Step Seven: Facial expressions and body poses. Look into your soul and find what facial expression or pose best reflects your ‘True Self’. Personally, I stare vacantly into the distance, like an off duty model or someone cool like that. Think Kristen Stewart. I’m basically her. This is what I’d like my ‘True Self’ to be: nonconformist; arty; really really cool. Unfortunately, the look is far less Kristen Stewart, and far more ‘desperately imitating the edgy ARCSOC girls’. Basically, my ‘True Self’ is vain, fake and pretentious. Whatever. As my selfie suggests, I’m too edgy to need your approval (I tell myself, while checking my Instagram notifications for the eighth time that hour).

Step Eight: Edit. Crop out unsightly objects, like the toilet door that time you took a selfie in a portaloo. Turn the exposure up so you look powerful, like a fairy princess or Lord Voldermort. Turn the exposure down a notch so you look dark and mysterious, or so far down that you can’t see your moustache (or a collection of rogue eyelashes, as I like to call it). Sadly, there’s no VSCO filter that creates the illusion that you have your life sorted, but at least your Instagram theme will be.

Step Nine: Caption. If a friend uses song lyrics, I’d consider cutting them out of my life forever. And my eyes, I’d like to cut my eyes out too. Even worse; “I woke up like this” – I want them to never wake up again. Funny captions can land well, but this rules me out because you need to actually be funny; my only humour comes from Twitter jokes I’ve memorised. I tried to think of a pun for this article and I genuinely think it gave me a migraine.

Step Ten: Hashtags. Don’t.

When I’m middle-aged, I’ll look back on my selfies and finally understand why my sister told me to set my Instagram on private. For now, I pretend I’m cool.


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