ANTM judge Nigel Barker examines inner beauty in new book
What is beautiful?
Nigel Barker has been a fashion photographer for the past 20 years but it wasn’t until his young son Jack asked him that very question did he start to think about what true beauty really is.
“I actually kind of stopped for a minute because I really wanted to give him the straight talk and I said, ‘You know what? Being beautiful is about being like your mother. It’s being spontaneous. It’s being motivated. It’s being naturally charming, charismatic.’ He looked at me like he thought I was crazy and ran off,” Barker tells CTV.ca with a laugh.
While his son may not have taken it seriously, it prompted the “America’s Next Top Model” judge and former model to further investigate the idea in his new book: “Nigel Barker's Beauty Equation: Revealing a Better and More Beautiful You.”
“It’s one thing to be a model and have all the model attributes but none of those things really make a beautiful picture. They make a fashion shot … but to be truly beautiful is to move someone from the heart.”
Although the book may appeal to many “America’s Next Top Model” hopefuls looking to pick up some tips to get on the show, the book is actually aimed at “regular” people, says Barker.
It features stories and insight Barker has gained from working in the fashion industry, as well as interviews with models, celebrities and athletes, and tips from fashion and beauty experts. The book also explores how qualities like compassion, humour and confidence convey inner beauty.
Each chapter ends with a challenge, where the reader is encouraged to put what they just learned to the test and snap a picture of themselves illustrating the idea – whether it’s a glammed-up beauty shot or straight out of the shower self-portrait.
“I wanted to have the proof in the pudding. I’m like, ‘Look I’m not just telling you about it, you’re going to do it.’ You’re going to see it for yourself,” says Barker.
Health and nutrition are also a focus of the book with a chapter that’s loosely titled “Skinny Bitch! Fat Cow!”
“You’re either (one or the other). It’s absurd,” says Barker. “Where’s the balance? If you look at celebrity and you look at media, if a celebrity puts on 10 lbs people say, ‘Oh she’s ballooned, what is she eating?’ … and if that woman loses another 10 lbs it’s, ‘Oh my God she’s anorexic.’ There’s no happy medium.”
Another chapter deals with how to be a “model citizen,” which includes working with charities and humanitarian organizations – something dear to Barker’s heart. He is actively involved with groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and the Make-A-Wish foundation, and recently became a board member for the Haitian charity Edeyo.
Readers are also encouraged to upload their photos and share their experiences on the book’s interactive website www.beautyequation.com.
“It’s really now the heart and soul of the book because it’s being written by the readers … it’s very powerful stuff. It’s very uplifting and it’s a great sign of solidarity within our whole community to really get this conversation going.”
Nigel Barker appears weekly on "America's Next Top Model," which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on /A\.