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Gap Tooth Celebrities Flaunt Their Smiles but would it fly at Wright Patt Air Force Base?
"The Gap Tooth look" is a bold departure from recent standards of idealized beauty that we usually see in ads.
Instead of perfection, designers now want what casting directors call "characters."
Other distinguishing characteristics in demand this season include tattoos, piercings, scars and even albino coloring.
Some say the popularity of physical flaws reflects the skepticism of today's youth toward the air-brushed perfection of the digital age.
"It's a love for the imperfect, and the authentic," "These are values that are more and more important for younger generations. Originality, authenticity…in a world that is more and more digitally enhanced."
Even Lauren Hutton, a supermodel in the '70s and '80s known for her signature gap, is getting more work these days.
The diastema is also gaining traction in Hollywood, as high-profile actors like Anna Paquin, of the vampire series "True Blood," and Elisabeth Moss, of "Mad Men," grace the red carpet with their pearly whites—and dark gaps.
In a recent issue of Us Weekly, Ms. Paquin said she considers it rude when people ask her why she hasn't "fixed" her smile.
The gap has long been celebrated in many African cultures as a sign of beauty. But in Europe and North America, gapped teeth weren't always considered chic.
According to the medieval laws of physiognomy—in which facial features were thought to dictate personality traits—a gap was a visual signal that a woman was "lustful and licentious," In the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in his Canterbury Tales of the gaptoothed wife of Bath, who says, "as help me God, I was a lusty one/ And fair, and rich, and young, and well begone"—old English for "well-endowed."
In more recent times, amply spaced front teeth have graced the mouths of a wide range of celebrities, from David Letterman to Madonna. But they have never been a widespread trend cultivated by the fashion and entertainment industries.
"People are responding to it, because it is unconventional."
An Australian model, used to oblige when clients asked her to wear a prosthetic insert to cover up her wide gap. But as she gets more work because of her teeth, not in spite of them, she refuses to cover it up. "If [clients] don't like my gap, I don't want to work for them," she says.
A professor of orthodontics at the University of North Carolina, says diastemata (dentist lingo for tooth gaps, plural) are still something most mainstream consumers see as a cosmetic mishap to be fixed, not a distinction to be celebrated.
But in the fashion industry, where getting attention is a primary goal of catwalk shows and advertisements, one strategy to intentionally draw stares. How much Attention do you wish to draw at the Greene County, Ohio Fair?
A 19-year-old model who will be strutting the runways at New York's fashion week for the first time this season, says her gap is her calling card. "It's something that sets me apart from everybody else," she says.
"If I am on set and smiling, but not showing my teeth, they are always shouting, 'Show us the teeth!"
after Wall Street Journal