Former model worried she’s “too beautiful” for the corporate world

Is there such thing as being too beautiful to work?  Apparently a woman in London believes she might be and is concerned. 
She writes: 
I know that you will think this problem is mad, but I fear I’m too good looking for corporate life.  As a student I used my looks to make money modelling, but now that I’m in the City I feel they are holding me back. Female colleagues distrust me, while male colleagues are drawn to me, but don’t take me very seriously.

My boss has told me that I need to network more. But I find networking events are ghastly, with all the eager men dribbling over me. What can I do, short of turning up to work in a bin liner?

Banker, female, 27″

While it’s not surprising that feel that attractive people fare better in the workplace and life overall, it’s not always true.  People judge you based on how you hold yourself and what you project.  If you walk around like you’re the hottest thing out there and wear clothes that acentutate certain assets, then you will  receive exactly what you put out there.  There was the case of Debrahlee Lorenzana of Citigroup last year, a full-figured Puerto Rican woman – she claims that her appearance, as much as she attempted to cover up, was just too sexy for her co-workers to handle. 

I have had co-workers who are drop-dead gorgeous and have all the guys drooling upon first sight, but after working with them for a while, they are highly respected and no one makes crass comments.  But beautiful people don’t always have it easy, there are plenty of people out there who make it a point of putting them down, and at times they have to work harder to get the same respect a more brainy but less attractive colleague may receive.

“The findings came from a study by the University of Colorado Business School:

Attractive women were discriminated against when applying for jobs considered “masculine”, and for which appearance was not seen as important to the job… Positions such as manager of research and development, director of finance, mechanical engineer and construction supervisor were not considered favourable for attractive women.

“In every other kind of job, attractive women were preferred. This wasn’t the case with men, which shows that there is still a double standard when it comes to gender.”  Attractive men, however, suffered no discrimination and were always at an advantage.

A study by MSNBC and Elle on the other hand, found “female bosses who were considered attractive were rated competent 58% of the time, compared with 23% for unattractive supervisors.”



7 thoughts on “Former model worried she’s “too beautiful” for the corporate world

  1. Diva says:

    Ok, I can kind of empathize with this woman. I’m 42 yet look like I’m 28. I have years of great experience, but constantly have to prove myself. I report to a VP at the company I work at, which is a Fortune 50 company and recently heard a woman comment about how young I am to have my position. It’s very frustrating. But on the flip side I guess I could have a longer career moving up the ladder.

    • I definitely see both sides of this as well – there are definitely benefits to being attractive and having it help you in the workplace, but a very fine line that can’t be crossed.

  2. I can also kind of empathize with this woman. Being a young looking female and working in the construction industry, I often don’t get taken seriously.

    But I agree that there is a lot to be said in how one carries themslelves – from what you wear to how you interact with your colleagues.

    • I’m in the AEC industry as well – and have been totally dismissed by older men (typically white) who want to wait until my “boss” comes in to make the final decision. It’s just pretty funny and sometimes I play along to amuse myself and wait for them to realize that I might actually have a teeny tiny say in what is going on. hehe

  3. This totally speaks to me. I’m 23, obviously I look YOUNG and I have to work with people generations older than me. I don’t let it get to me though, as long as you play your part and act with proper leverage you should be treated fairly. Perhaps because I’m in the biotech industry it’s different and not too male-dominated. It’s about equal but there is no one quite young!

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