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Behind the Mask; A new report shows two thirds of women are missing out on opportunities because of a lack of self belief. Mel Hunter offers advice on how to boost our beauty with a good dose of inner confidence.

Byline: Mel Hunter

How often have you caked your face in super-confident make-up but remained a quaking bag of nerves and self doubt underneath?

We are all guilty of painting on a mask to present a brave front to the world, even though we know deep down that no matter how red the lipstick anyone with an ounce of insight will see straight through it.

Beauty, you see, is a bit like an mathematical equation.

You need to add a good dose of inner confidence to an expensive face cream if it is to have the desired results.

That is why confidence is our biggest beauty asset.

Believe in yourself, stand up straight and put a smile on your face and the world will suddenly seem to be eating out of the palm of your hand.

Says hairstylist Guido Palau: 'A beautiful woman today is a woman who is at ease with herself, not a woman who looks tortured by her beauty routine - too squeezed, too manicured or too artificial.'

Which is fine. But as well as being women's biggest asset, confidence is also our most precious commodity.

If you could bottle and sell the brimming self-belief of Britney Spears you would make a buck faster than Buck Rogers's parents.

Despite appearances which suggest women are bouncing through life bursting with self-assurance, our own experiences and that of our friends tells us that the average woman is still held back by self-doubt.

Indeed, a new survey - The Confidence in Body and Mind Report, commissioned by Skin Confidence E45 - found that two-thirds of us are missing out on opportunities because of a lack of self belief.

The report's author, personal development trainer Gael Lindenfield, says that contrary to popular opinion, super-confident celebrities were not born that way. They worked hard to acquire self-possession and continually strive to keep it boosted.

Many stars agree that their success and their talked-about looks are in large part due to being proud of who they are. Says actress Natalie Portman, who achieved success in the Star Wars film at just 16 years of age: 'I think self-confidence is such a part of beauty. If you don't think you are a beautiful person then other people won't either.'

Other stars, such as the super glam Liz Hurley, admit to looking in the mirror in the morning and focusing on their positive points. By playing down the negative it is easier to believe you are beautiful.

Kate Winslet is one star is famously proud of her body's imperfections. She says: 'As a younger actress it's easy to think that to be successful you have to be thin, and I used to feel like that. But I'm a woman and I've got boobs and I've got a bum.'

You don't need wealth or fame to exude the confidence of a Hollywood star. Simply stick to the seven life rules set down by Gael Lindenfield in her report for Skin Confidence E45 and feel yourself lifted on to a higher plane of self-belief

Believe that you are one in a million

Don't put yourself down in public

Highlight your strengths

Talk inspiringly to yourself

Be natural and behave naturally

Drop the airs and graces

Age gracefully

Dress down and abandon the make-up occasionally

Nourish and strengthen your body

Don't demand size eight from size 12 potential

Eat for health and exercise for fitness and fun

Pamper your body with daily moisturising and massage

Be proud to be feminine

Dress to look sexy

Don't diet away your curves

Stay in charge of your life

Stay financially independent

Find work you enjoy

Have dreams and the courage to follow them

Set challenging goals

Stick out for first rate relationships

Say a firm 'no' to second best

Make sure single life is fun

Bounce back from setbacks

Remind yourself of past setbacks you have overcome

Take time out to renew your body and spirit

Re-invent yourself and change your life

CAPTION(S):

Left, actress Natalie Portman - 'I think self-confidence is such a part of beauty. If you don't think you are a beautiful person then other people won't either.' Main, Kate Winslet - 'As a younger actress it's easy to think that to be successful you have to be thin, and I used to feel like that. But I'm a woman and I've got boobs and I've got a bum.'
COPYRIGHT 2001 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 31, 2001
Words:727
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