Real Life Dorian Grays are persons, who for whatever reason don't age in their looks. Besides explaining the connection between Dorian Gray and the "new" selfie-addiction, the article shows three interesting examples...
There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. (The Life of Dorian Gray)
He is one of the most fascinating novel characters in the world, both creepy and beautiful, a symbol of what everybody is dreaming of: Oscar Wildes Dorian Gray. The guy who unknowingly sells his soul to stay young forever, has everything most persons would be jealous of. Dorian Gray is not only young and beautiful, but also rich and innocent. Innocence is something which gets most admired by those, who know. It is something a person loses with knowledge and - same as youth - never comes back.
We assume that there are two types of Real life Dorian Grays out there. Those, who imitate him and those, who apparently really seem to not get older. This phenomenon is very rare, but one of the most fascinating things in the world. It is not only about being skinny and having no wrinkles, it is more a combination of many components. But the second group of the Real life Dorian Grays all have one thing in common: none of them ever lost the innocence in their eyes.
Capturing a Soul
I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wildes major work. It combines a critical view towards the decadent upper class during this time (the novel got released in 1890) with the morality of beauty. When Dorian Grey gets portrayed by painter Basil, he himself realises the first time his own beauty. That's the moment, when - à la narcissus - he starts losing his innocence. He knows that this portrait captured a moment that will never come back again, a moment of youth. It's almost the same as nowadays taking a picture and seeing yourself looking from a small mobile screen. A second later, the time is gone, we will never be that young again, but the moment is captured.
Dorian Grays biggest wish is it now, that instead of him, the painting should get older. A wish that gets fulfilled under the presence of the influential Lord Henry. A wish, that finally ruins the young man's pure heart. In Fact his ruthless life in the following years gets only reflected in the portrait, carefully hidden by Dorian Gray. While his soul seems to be possessed by the devil and is getting older and older, his outer appearance is still characterized by true beauty.
Live Hard, Die Young
...is the motto many young western people are following - sometimes even (unknowlingly) forcefully. Despite the exaggerated example (which is also a strophe in one of Lana Del Reys songs), the truth behind this phrase lies in the fear of getting old. Not only the physical and mental disadvantages of ageing are aspects, that many young people worry about, but also the feeling, to probably regret not doing something. Missed doing a lot of parties, having fun with friends, exploring the world and many other things, allegedly only young can do. Even though living "hard" in early ages can cause an early death or looking older than the average person in same age, some people still like to take the risk. If a person is old, the life is considerd to be already boring and older people get "[...]typically depicted as 'ugly , toothless, sexless incontinent, senile, confused and helpless...'".
The story of Dorian Gray is a mirror of an unfullfilled wish only in a young persons mind, because if a person is already struggeling with his aging face, its too late to capture the youth. They probably still wish to look young and beautiful, but when this stage is already reached, it is too late. Then only old pictures remind them of good old times. If these pictures dont exist, is the struggle with looking old (not aging) easier? Then aging only happens in others peoples eyes. Meeting a person after 10 years can sometimes cause a little shock. The hair are greyish, the posture not as straight as before, the hands a little bit more shacky - even without alcohol and the face a little bit rounder without being allowed to give the argument of baby fat. It's a fact that in some countries it's considered as respectable to reach a certain age. But that only becomes obvious by the look. A hard working farmer can look like 70 when he is only 40, which funnily means he is considered "older" than a 50 year old good maintained woman with botox. Dorian Gray would have been treated as a young, while he was already an old man. So what's the best way to avoid being considered as "old" (if not having the luck to be considered as one of a few real life Dorian Grays)? As the "looking young while not being young"-obsession arises from social constructivism or better: human relationships, the only way of avoiding getting confronted with it is living in a hole far away from nowhere.
In 2016, a life without taking pictures is almost unimaginable. A shot with the camera in the morning is even better than a look into the mirror, because it shows the person, how other people will see him throughout the day. If the back-to-front and and the other's people view are okay, the person is ready to go.
Dorian Gray's obsession of himself is nothing else than the selfie addiction nowadays which gets represented on instagram. Both, selfie addicts and Dorian share the love of looking to themselves like narcissus, they need admiration from a broader public, both sold/sell their souls and in our opinion considered to be a specific form of real life Dorian Grays. The difference is that Dorian and selfie addicts are doing the complete opposite with the same intention: Dorian tries to hide his portrait from the broader public, while the principle of instagram is getting as much followers and likes as possible from a broader public. Dorian's real body is not aging, while all selfie addicts are probably not going to look like that in several years. Therefore Dorian Gray himself would be the best person to start a business on instagram, but as he already made a pact with the devil, this would not have been possible (besides the fact that the story takes plays in 1890).
What famous and infamous people on instagram are doing is nothing compares to what Dorian did. Yes, in terms of "aging" its probably more worse. As elaborated in the section above, taking, collecting and looking (at) many pictures in one's own life is suboptimal in having a feeling of "agelessness". On the other hand people like to save them to show them their children, good friends or strangers, especially when they are older with the words: "look at my younger me". Instagram is not bad, but according to a philosophy à la "Dorian Gray", pictures should get deleted after one year. Why? Because people and the person himself will start looking at them, giving comments like " I don't know what it is - maybe the light, but your face changed so much".
Real Life Dorian Grays
Now let's shunt everything and come to the real Real life Dorian Grays. Here are some examples of persons, who made it to a young look in a certain age:
Winona Rhyder: Young Deer
Winona Rhyder is an icon. Nobody from the new generation knows her anymore, that's true, but still she is an icon. Then, when she was the girlfriend of Johnny Depp; then, when she played a borderline-patient and assisted Angelina Jolie to her breakthrough; then, when she got caught for commiting several shopliftings; then, when she was skinny, white and had this porcelain-doll-look. And so she is now. Winona Rhyder is 44 years old, but still the young and innocent woman she became famous as. One of three true Real Life Dorian Grays.
But what's her secret? Maybe famous German psychiatrist and anxiety-expert Borwin Bandelow knows it. In his book "Celebrities: vom schwierigen Glück, berühmt zu sein" (Celebrities: about the difficult luck, to be famous) (2006), Bandelow explains the connection between borderline syndrome, fame and looking young. According to him, most of the extremely famous people are Borderline-patients who need attention to "survive". Taking a lot of drugs is one thing for them, but nothing compared to getting applause on a stage or being in front of the cameras flaslights. He is pointing out that even though having a lot of money and being famous, all of the extremely famous celebrities like Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain or Marilyn Monroe were sad narcisstic personalities. They felt alone even though being in one of many relationships. These people in turn manage it to look young - consider they reach a certain age - much longer than their "normal" colleagues. Plastic surgery is maybe also a factor. But even then, the connection between looking young by being skinny lies not far away. Winona Rhyder for example is said to have borderline and yes, she also kept a young and fresh look until the age of 44. On the other hand, it can be a connection between many components, that make her one "Dorian Gray" of our time. Ironically, she was for example never married or has any children. Winona Rhyder rather kept the innocent look for herself.
Annette Larkins and Mimi Kirk: Raw Vegan
Mimi Kirk and Annette Larkins are real life Dorian Grays, whose two common secrets we are now going to reveal: 1. Both are over 70 and 2. Both swear of a Raw Vegan Diet. At age 70, Mimi became the "Sexiest Vegetarian in the World". Now, the mother of 4 is 75, Youtuber, author of several books including "Live Raw Around the World", blogger and one of the best examples of how raw vegan food can make a person look young. Annette Larkins diet secret: she is growing her own food and drinks a lot of self-made smoothies. "If you are drink the juice [of fresh fruits]without eating solid foods, it goes through your system very quickly, gives your digestive system a rest and actually you get your nutritional value there", the 73 year old revealed in the "Steve"-show.
Both, Mimi and Annette, were first Vegetarians, then became Vegans and finally Raw Vegans. A strict Mimi Kirk Raw Vegan "diet" allows only uncooked and unprocessed food. Fruits, (steamed) vegetables and nuts are the main components and secret of the young and healthy look of the two ladies.
Chinese Empress Widow Cixis Beauty Secret
Cixi was a person full of intelligence, not outstanding beautiful, but admired and still at the same time hated. A woman, who moved her way up to the top from almost nothing to become the famous Chinese Empresss Widow. In 1852, the 17 year old Cixi came as one of many concubines on the Chinese emperors court. Its said that her rank was very low in the beginning, but due to her seduction skills and a good friendship with one of the Emperors wifes Zhen, she slowly moved up. When she gave birth to the Emperor's first son Tongzhi, Cixi suddenly got rank number two - only one position behind Zhen. When Tongzhi finally became the new emperor at age 18, but suddenly died after two years of regency, his mother Cixi was on the throne again. Once more she showed her intelligence in adopting her three year old nephew and deputized him as the new emperor. Like in the last 13 years, when her son was "waiting" for the throne, she was then able to secretly keep on pulling the strings. Between 1861 and 1908, Empress Cixi was the most influential woman in Catha. Nowadays Cixi can be viewed as one of our three real life Dorian Grays.If people take a look at some of her pictures, she always looks at the very most like a lady in her mid 30s or mid 40s. When she was in her 60s, the "young look" got paired with some kind of emotionless in her expression like nowadays many botox-addicted celebrities have. Cixi was not beautiful, but it is written, that
her skin [at 60] was tender and smooth, as fair as that of a young lady
Cixis beauty secret were her strict diet and special hair-treatments to promote hair-growth and yes, she also liked to apply make-up which was very exceptional during this time. According to a report from China Daily, Cixi used
face powder made up of pearls and skin cream made of flower distillate. At night, she applied egg white, kept it on until half an hour before sleep, and then applied flower extract, finally patting her wet face dry with soft towels. Furthermore, she used a jade face roller, cool and smooth, on her face again and again every morning before dressing
The powders toxic agents allegedly made her features rigid after some time. That's why she looks a little bit "emotionless" on some of her older pictures. Cixis beauty secret and the reason for her young look is therefore a mix of good genes, a special diet and treatments plus unfortunately some very bad side effects of make-up.