Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Maria Rodale Headshot

Beyoncé and the True Cost of Beauty

Posted: Updated:

I am not a huge fan of Beyoncé. I admire her, but her music isn't really my cup of tea. I do, however, love People magazine. It's my 20 minutes of mental erasure once a week. With the added bonus that it keeps me up-to-date on popular culture.

This week I was stunned when I saw this quote from Beyoncé:

"I'm always in pain! My earrings are heavy, and my heels are hurting--they hurt all the time. But you know you have to sacrifice for beauty. You just get kind of numb after a while."

I wasn't stunned that she said it, just that People printed it. Every time I see Beyoncé on awards shows (and her pop compatriots like Carrie Underwood, et al) I can't help but stare at them and think--Good Lord, it must take a lot of work and, misery, to keep up that look. Now I have proof that it's true. Would Beyoncé still be as successful if she only wore flats? If she didn't wear inches-thick layers of makeup, or do whatever she does to her hair to make it unnaturally sparkly and straight? I don't know. Of course, she is talented beyond her good looks. And people do love to look at that kind of beauty--men and women alike. But what does it cost her? Not just in money, but in pain, and lost time.

For better or worse, I've taken the path of least resistance on my "beauty" regime. You could say I've given up. I don't color my hair, or straighten it (it takes 45 minutes to get it straight--that's 45 minutes I could be doing lots of other things). I hate eye makeup--and in fact, face makeup in general makes me claustrophobic. I only wear flat shoes and, frankly, prefer no shoes. I've gone for comfort over beauty, and I must say, it feels good.

However, I would be lying if I said I don't look at my neck and wish it didn't have lines in it, or at my hair and wish it wasn't frizzy all the time. Especially as I think about heading out on "tour" to sell my upcoming book, Organic Manifesto, I worry if I will look fat and frizzy on TV. My stomach, after three kids over three decades, refuses to flatten, no matter how much pilates and yoga I do. And, dear reader, you know I love food way too much to diet!!!

So I will be heading out into the world of media makeovers as just myself: Graying, frizzy, slightly fat, and wearing flats. But at least I won't be numb or in pain! It might cost me in terms of popularity or fame--which is still a double standard where women are concerned (let's be honest, there are a lot of ugly, graying, frizzy and slightly fat men wearing flats who have no problem gaining fame or respect).

But as long as my family loves me, I'll be just fine...and that's a beautiful thing.

For more from Maria Rodale, go to

From Our Partners