Just been watching a handful of make-up tutorials by the latest You Tube beauty sensation, Venus Palermo, aka Venus Angelic. She is part of an apparently growing trend for adolescent girls (Venus is 15) to want to look like dolls. They are aping the dollish look with make-up and posting videos and photos of themselves on line. The trend began in Japan, where wide eyes and porcelain skin is de rigueur, and is filtering westwards. It will come as no surprise that it has been picked up by the Daily Mail and also the ITV Daybreak morning TV show not least for its more sinister implications.
Yet, there is no denying that a rounded, child like face, with big eyes, rosebud lips and flawless skin is appealing. In a child it is endearing and adorable, in an adult it is soft, pretty and disarming. It is no accident that the model, Lily Cole with her China doll features is among the highest earning models.
Where it goes wrong is of course when it is over-egged – whether at 50, through unnaturally plumped lips and cheeks, or at 15 through unnatural make-up, an exaggeratedly childish voice and a Lolita-esqe pose. And the potential implications of the latter in an open online world is unnerving. But on the face of it, Venus Palermo is just a slightly eccentric girl who loves make-up and using it to create an alter ego, in this case that of a pink cheeked, wide eyed doll. And the online community is loving it. Her doll video has at the time of writing stacked up well over 1.5 million views.
The kitch art angle to it is not to be missed, perhaps she and Grayson Perry’s alter ego Claire should swap make-up tips – or perhaps Perry should create a real live ceramic doll of Venus Angelic. Venus Angelic china doll, by Grayson Perry. I can see it now.