Everywhere around us, on TV, on billboards and in print media, our senses are inundated by an unduly unnatural emphasis on “looking good”. The obsession on achieving good looks is fueled by cosmetic manufacturers, fashion industry, gyms and media to the point where nothing else in a person's make up seems to matter as much as having the ideal looks from hair tip to carefully manicured toe nails. Have looks, flaunt it is the new mantra and skimpier dresses show off your gym sculpted figures to perfection much to the envy of onlookers.

Charm, courtesy, inner balance, graciousness of a person are pushed into the background. It is the in thing to be brash and bold, brassy and chrome, not to have the dull sheen of gold or its intrinsic character. Anyone who has watched the movie “Gone With The Wind” will admire the personality depicted by Olivia de Havilland; so full of old world graciousness and charm that is more beautiful and full of character than any skin deep beauty. But how many of these smartly attired and cosmetically made up women we see today have the gracious element of charm or the charming element of graciousness? These and other values in life? Move over, the age of veneer is here.

This applies as much to women as it does to men. Women are seemingly overly anxious about their looks and image. However, if someone genuinely likes you, it does not matter to him or her if you are on the thinner side or a little bit on the plus side. It is the reciprocation and not the reciprocal that matters.

Hema Malini, the Hindi film heroine of yesteryears, today projects a quality of charm and graciousness in her maturer years, looking so comfortable being herself, so full of poise. Have confidence, achieve poise and be yourself and you become truly beautiful the way you are: an endearing person to all.

Current trends have infiltrated Indian values that at one time gave weight to “sanskar” in a person. Indian men love the glitzy western looks and Indian women do not want to be left behind, ramping up their styles to even outdo western sisters. But then, what is of value endures because it is timeless.

Women not blessed with perfect figures worry about the image they project and whether they will be liked and admired can shift perspectives and focus away from the purely external to developing intrinsic.

A lively, infectiously bubbly personality, a caring person, a positive person always will be liked. Look around and you will see people who have these intrinsic qualities, who do not epitomize good looks, yet are liked and respected. It is what you have in you that determines what you are.

It only takes a little effort to take care of looks and a little more on developing yourself as a person. Those who genuinely appreciate the true values will like and love you regardless of looks. Be comfortable with yourself and use your plus points to your best advantage and these are the best tools you have to outshine picture perfect people.

Young people can easily become obsessed with losing weight, resulting in eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Do remember that being healthy is more important than being thin, and healthy isn't a size 0! It doesn't matter if you're wearing the hottest trends when you're inside a coffin box due to an eating disorder.

Models carry themselves with an air of confidence, not an air of cockiness. Don't think you're better than everyone; don't get too wrapped up in yourself. Open your eyes to the world and find opportunities. Even if you look like a model, it doesn't mean you can't be yourself.

Be unique - Don't be a clone of someone else!

In words of Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh , “Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”