Amazing Face, Bossypants and the great Zoe Foster Tina Fey face-off: review (of sorts) by Toni Whitmont

by |July 3, 2011

The new it-book in fashion publishing is Amazing Face by Zoe Foster. Our customers can’t get enough of it and it has only just on the market. In fact, it is scary how many copies we have sold over the last few days. While that is a great shame if you are say, Tina Obrecht, who just won  the Orange Prize with The Tiger’s Wife, or Kim Scott, whose That Deadman Dance has won the Miles Franklin, or AC Grayling whose supremely wonderful The Good Book is sadly languishing in our warehouse,  it probably says a lot about our youth-obsessed, celebrity-based culture.

That is not to say that Amazing Face is a dud. It is not. In fact, you probably can’t get a better make-up book. It is chock full of tips, how-to’s, must-haves. And it is presented with a magazine editor’s eye for layouts and colour. It is really good to look at – it is almost make-up porn. And it is so much more fun than Paula’s beauty bible Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me – itself indispensible, but as reference collection it takes itself oh-so-seriously.

You can get a really good idea about Amazing Face here – the clips, the description and even an excerpt from our Zoe.

Of course, if you are a wee bit snarly, a wee bit cyncial (who me?) or maybe you’ve just can’t come at one more miracle cream (who me? again), you may prefer an altogether different take on the business of being beautiful. Maybe the perspective of the mercurial but always funny Tina Fey, she of Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls, Sarah Palin, 30 Rock and now happily, Bossypants, fame.

While Zoe Foster may be the editor of a  beauty website (, Tina Fey has been concerned about body image for some time.


No surprise then that she has her own take on beauty, body and all that biz in Bossypants. For example:

From the chapter called The Secrets of Mommy’s Beauty – number three in her Twelve Tenets of Looking Amazing Forever.

Makeup companies like to make skin care seem complicated, but let me demystify it for you. The Three Secrets of Great Skin Care –  Moisture, SOOTS (Stay out of the Sun), and Be Italian. The Three Rules of SOOTS are Sunscreen, AWAH (Always Wear a Hat), and DLO (Don’t Lay Out). Don’t Lay Out is a mnemoic device for Do Lots of Omega 3s,  that can be found in SWaWB (Salmon, Walnuts and Weird Bread).

Consistency is the most important part of skin care, followed by Water Drinking and both of those are less important than SLEEP (Sleep Like Everyone Else Please).

At the tender age of fourteen I was already invigorating my skin with a rigorous daily massage. I squeezed and picked at every pore, harvesting any and all goo balls. This, follwed by a bracing splash of Sea Breeze, has helped keep my pores large and supple to this day.

By nineteen, I had discovered that Retin-A was a great way to have large chuncks of your skin peel off and waft to the floor during acting class.

And this, part of her dissertation on how to survive the photo shoot, from a chapter called “Amazing, Gorgeous, Not Like That”.

When you inevitably can’t fit into a garment, the stylist’s assistant will be sent in to help you. The stylist’s assistant will be a chic twenty-year-old Asian girl named Esther or Agnes or Lot’s Wife.

In a few years she’ll be running the editorial staff, but at this point in time, her job is to stuff a middle-aged woman’ bare ass crack into a Prada dress and zip it up. In my case, Esther and I are always mutually frustrated when zipping up the tiny dress. Esther is disgusted by my dimply flesh and her low status. I’m annoyed that her tiny hands lack the strength to get Pandora’s plague back into the box.

She continues:

We have now entered the de bate over America’s most serious and pressing issue: Photoshop.

A lot of women are outraged by the use of Photoshop in magazine photos. I say a lot of women because I have yet to meet one man who could give a fat turd about the topic. Not even a gay man.

I feel about Photoshop the way some people feel about abortion. It is appalling and a tragic reflection on the moral decay of our society…unless I need it, in which case, everybody be cool.

Do I think Photoshop is being used excessively? Yes. I saw Madonna’s Louis Vuitton ad and honestly, at first glance, I thought it was Gwen Stefani’s baby.

And on the ideal woman

All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a Californian tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine year old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama and doll tits.

The person closest to actually achievinig this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes. Everyone else is struggling.

OK, readers, time to line up. Who is for Zoe and who is for Tina? There won’t be many of you who will go for both.

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  • July 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I’d go for both – Zoe is showing you how to make the most of what you’ve got, and Tina, I think, would also have the same philosophy. (Erm, unless there’s a chapter on Botox in Zoe’s book that I don’t know about.)

  • bookgrrl

    July 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I’d read both, but for different reasons. Tina’s book is an incredibly funny memoir and it seems odd to compare it to a make-up book!

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