Tess Christian’s female friends look the picture of merriment when they get together for their frequent Friday nights out in a local restaurant.
Champagne flows, the conversation gets steadily more raucous and peals of laughter hang over their table.
But there’s always an odd one out in the happy scene: Tess, 50, who sits stony-faced while her friends giggle around her. Not even a flicker of a smile, let alone a laugh, escapes her lips.
Tess isn’t devoid of humour, but for nearly 40 years she has made a conscious decision not to laugh or smile — even at the birth of her daughter. This is because Tess says that maintaining a perennial poker face is a crucial way to keeping her — admittedly, impressive — youthful looks.
‘I don’t have wrinkles because I have trained myself to control my facial muscles,’ says Tess, ‘Everyone asks if I’ve had Botox, but I haven’t, and I know that it’s thanks to the fact I haven’t laughed or smiled since I was a teenager. My dedication has paid off, I don’t have a single line on my face.
‘Yes, I am vain and want to remain youthful. My strategy is more natural than Botox and more effective than any expensive beauty cream or facial.’
As unorthodox as Tess’s regime may sound, she is not alone in her drive to suppress facial movements, such as laughing or frowning, in a bid to stop wrinkles forming.
Even celebrities such as U.S. TV star Kim Kardashian, 34, have admitted trying not to smile or laugh ‘because it causes wrinkles’.
And some experts believe that this bizarre trick might work. Dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe says: ‘It can be an effective anti-ageing technique. Undoubtedly, there are some actresses who have retrained their facial expressions to this end.
So, is a life full of laughter really worth sacrificing for the sake of a few lines? Tess, who works as a cooking instructor for a vegetable produce company, thinks so. ‘It’s not as if I’m miserable. I love life. I just don’t feel the need to show it by walking around with a rictus grin on my face.’
Her decision didn’t start off as an anti-ageing device. Instead, it was a reaction to the strict Catholic school she attended.
‘The joyless nuns there didn’t like children to smile. I was always told to wipe the smile off my face so I learnt to smirk instead,’ says Tess.
By the time she reached adulthood, she realised a sombre expression suited her. ‘If I did smile I developed big hamster cheeks that made me look deranged. I looked up to old-school Hollywood icons such as Marlene Dietrich for inspiration; she never smiled and I loved the way she smouldered glamorously.’
Source – Daily Mail