Asymmetry in Supermodels
A common goal in most oculoplastic procedures is to increase symmetry. In an effort to establish baseline measures in attractive subjects, Ing et.al. (2006) measured ocular asymmetries in male and female models’ photos in fashion magazine advertisements (e.g., Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Vogue, Gentleman’s Quarterly, etc.). They found significant asymmetries in:
- horizontal fissure width (1)
- upper central lid fold (5)
- upper temporal lid fold (7)
- central eyebrow height (9)
- temporal eyebrow height (11)
- medial canthal to midline distance
- pupil to midline distance
- orbital distopia (asymmetrically displaced eyes)
While I applaud the effort to establish realistic expectations of beauty, I do not believe that the methods used in this study can reach valid conclusions regarding each of the numbered measures in the bulleted list above. Each of these measures can vary based on facial expression (if you like, you can demonstrate this point to yourself in front of a mirror). Even in cases where fashion models’ expressions appear neutral in a magazine ad, we cannot assume that subtle asymmetries are not the result of subtle expressions – as opposed to assuming they result from structural asymmetries.
That being said, attractive models are not always perfectly symmetrical. A cursory visual inspection of beauty shots (essentially, close-ups of faces intended to look beautiful) will reveal asymmetries in beautiful models that are visible to the naked eye.
Ing E, Safarpour A, Ing T, & Ing S (2006). Ocular adnexal asymmetry in models: a magazine photograph analysis. Canadian journal of ophthalmology. Journal canadien d’ophtalmologie, 41 (2), 175-82 PMID: 16767204