I whore my face out to billion-dollar corporations to try to make people insecure and buy things they don’t need. Big deal.

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graphic-NNNHi. I’m actor Theo James, and you may have seen my face around town recently on bus stops, billboards, and maybe some ads on TV. I am the new face of a fragrance for men called “Spent” or something like that. I can’t remember, but I assure you it sounds pretty awesome.

pic4Being the face of a smell means you will see my dashing and manly looks paired with this overpriced bottle of liquid that has a certain odour. The idea from the advertisers’ point of view is to pair two totally unrelated things, namely my confident and powerful chiselled good looks and the magnetism it has on the opposite sex with this very expensive smelly water. Notice how they don’t list the ingredients or tell you how it smells? Instead, they slap my face on its name, and presto, in people’s minds they think being good-looking and alluring the opposite sex equals said fragrance. See that lady draped over my shoulder or the other one whispering in my ear? See how I hardly even notice they are there? That’s how hot I am. Are they there because of my smouldering handsomeness? My successful acting career, fame, or buckets of money? Or are they just models being paid to do that? Well, what the ad wants to subconsciously convey is that it’s because I am wearing the aftershave. Classic, right? It sounds crazy, I know, but it works. People will actually pay $70 for a bottle of water based on that principle.

If you look around, anyone who is anyone celebrity-wise has their face attached to a fragrance. Did I have any dilemma whoring out my face to the highest bidder? Hell no. Let’s face it: any celebrity in a fragrance ad is already assumed to be mega-rich. Celebrities make $1.3 billion a year on fragrance sales, and there are 500 celebrity fragrances released every year! That is insane. Personally, I didn’t even know there were 500 of us. So to get paid even more money for a day’s photo shoot, and then put my face and name on it, not only makes me even wealthier, but also promotes my brand, the “Theo James” brand I have become. Being the face of an international, popular brand of perfumes boosts my own brand, and we both use our recognition status to boost each other. It’s a win/win (for us, at least).

pic6Now, is there a price to being a face whore? Well, for me, no; it’s a total payday. For the corporations selling the product, the return on my face is worth the price. Now, for the consumer, yes, there may be some costs. Let me explain. When I talk about myself and my other celebrity amigos who whore their faces, technically, by the time they Photoshop out any imperfections, it’s not really my face anymore. Well, maybe 60% my face. Creating an ideal of beauty and perfection that is unattainable is a key component in what compels people to buy things they don’t need. By saturating the public in these kinds of images and narrow definitions of beauty and sexual attractiveness, it works to ensure people keep needing to buy beauty products, cars, jewellery, or whatever it is they feel is missing. The brilliant lies advertisers tell over and over are to make consumers think this purchase will fulfil the unmet need. I mean, LOL, we all know it doesn’t, but hey, that’s just business.

So yes, if I think about it, being a face whore isn’t the greatest contribution I could be making to society, but either I try not to think about it or I try to rationalise it in such a way that it feels totally justified. The cost to the environment of producing so much of something people don’t really need? Well, I donate to Greenpeace every year, and I attend a high-priced “Save the Rainforest” gala event annually, so let’s just say I have those bases covered.

We are whores one way or another. People whore their labour to work for minimum wage so they can feed their kids. For me, I whore my face and make thousands for a day’s work so that minimum-wage worker can buy an aftershave that my whored-out face has fooled him into thinking will somehow make him happier or more attractive. So we all prostitute our time and labour one way or another. It’s not my fault I’m a successful actor/model with stunning good looks, whose face fetches a high price.

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