Thanks to the arrival of the selfie and a million photo-sharing platforms, posing has become a fine art. And there are very particular ways to go about it.
The latest hot topic pose comes in the form of ‘squinching’, a term coined by portraitist Peter Hurley who has claimed it as highly flattering on just about everyone. And while it rings many tiny bells of Tyra Banks’ ‘smizing’ pose that she birthed over 20 series of America’s Next Top Model, it’s got less of the smile, more of the squint about it.
This whole posing lark is a minefield. I’m always caught out like a rabbit in the headlights when a camera or phone is held in my face, about to be snapped and posted onto Instagram within seconds. What face to pull? Teeth or no teeth? Head upright or chin down? I panic, and am usually left with a highly awkward pose that looks completely uncomfortable and slightly constipated. Not ideal.
So, on the cue of the newly birthed ‘squinch’, I took action. I’ve road-tested the (supposedly) most flattering poses of now to see which ones really work. While debating the benefits (or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it) of squinching, one team member recalled the episode of Friends, in which Joey reveals the failsafe acting technique he devised in which he pretends to smell something really vile in order to perfect his best Blue Steel face. Well, if it works for Joey…
1. Squinching - squint your eyes a little to allow your top and bottom eyelids to close a fraction. The result is one of sheer confidence, apparently.
Perhaps I didn’t get it quite right because I think I look like I’ve had seven and a half Aperol Spritzs too many. I teamed it with a grin here, which probably doesn’t help the drunken look, but without a smile it would no doubt look more serious and therefore more cool. I need to practice.
2. Smizing - a term coined by Tyra Banks which means to smile with your eyes.
It’s actually pretty hard to smile with your eyes. Whilst also trying not to smile with your mouth. I felt like I was trying to freeze myself with a peculiar look on my face as if playing Grandmother’s Footsteps. I’ve realised that Tyra’s heavy layer of smoky eye make-up gets her half way to the smize.
3. Pruning - as in to say the word ‘prunes’ as you have your picture taken, giving your mouth a slightly sultry and serious look. The Olsen twins have got it down to a T.
This felt like the most posey of the lot and least like what I’d naturally do with my expression if a camera was thrust in my face. To me, it looks like I’ve had a dodgy filler/collagen job done around my mouth. Or have really bad mouth ulcers. But on those Olsen twins, it looks utterly fabulous. As poses go, it’s far better than the 90s pout (see Posh Spice) and thoroughly easy to do on demand.
4. Teeging - that’s a mix of teeth and tongue, friends. Lily Allen’s pose of choice, it requires you to bear your front teeth and press your tongue closely behind them, so that its slightly on show.
Though Lily nails this look every time, I don’t think my version looks anywhere near as good. It reminds me of my 3 year old niece who has a distinct lisp and whose tongue seems to permanently hang out of her mouth like a Labrador puppy. I think I’ll leave this one to Lily.
5. LOL-ing - do a proper hearty laugh, like a real ROFL one, and then freeze as it’s drawing to a close. You’ll be left with a joyful, all-teeth-on-show smile.
This felt natural and easy and although it was completely phoney, I think I fooled the camera well. It felt the most normal of them all. I thought back to Saturday night when my best friend slipped across the dance floor (ending up in a near-splits stance), let out a loud belly laugh and hey presto, there it is.