While Jessica Simpson travels the globe to learn how other cultures define beauty for her new reality show Price of Beauty, set to air on VH1, I had some findings of my own during my honeymoon in Southeast Asia. The network execs aren’t calling to broadcast my research, but trust me, these are 3 of the most whacked-out definitions of beauty worth checking out. Let’s see if J. Simps can top this.1.Do you yearn for a good toe-sucking? (I hope not…unless it’s from your dog or you’re in Cambodia). In Siem Reap, getting your feet nibbled on is as common as a bag of hay. The “fish massage” is one of the most popular beauty treatments there. The streets of the night markets are dotted with tanks filled with tiny toothless fish. The fish gnaw away at the dead skin on your feet, which tickles a little, and after about 10 minutes of munching, you’re left with softer skin. IMG_3175

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2. We spend so much money trying to achieve glistening, white teeth. Imagine a period when black chompers were the beauty ideal. To the hardcore smokers and coffee-drinkers out there, don’t get your hopes up just yet because in order for those stains to be considered beautiful you’ll have to revert back 50+ years in Vietnam when women used a combination of resin and alcohol to dye their teeth black. Even today, the older generation of Vietnamese women continue to chew the betel nut, which when mixed with saliva, creates a dark red/brown color that contributes to teeth staining. I met this woman, who was happily chewing on her betal nut, in the seaside village of Hoi An. IMG_01463. Traveling in Chang Mai, I visited a hill tribe known as the long-neck tribe, or more formally, the Karen people. As you can see in the below pictures, the women and children love wearing jewelry. The catch? These metal neck rings feel more like 30-pound weights (it required two hands for me to hold one). With the help of my guide, I spoke to one of the tribe’s youngest members, a 4-year-old girl. Her mother had just put the neck ring on her daughter for the first time the day before. Usually the young girls put on the neck ring when they turn five so I asked why the early arrival. The little girl said she wanted to be as pretty as her mommy. The other women I spoke with said that women who wear these rings are the most beautiful. I also asked the oldest member of the village, a 50-something-year-old grandmother, if the stiff, heavy piece hurts. She smiled and said that it’s hard to turn her head and at times difficult to sleep (tho she didn’t mention that her neck would be too weak if she removed it). Even so, she was happy to wear the necklace as she, like the others, is clearly willing to pay the price for beauty.

visiting with the little girl and grandmother

visiting with the little girl and grandmother


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