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Striking Video for Anniversary of Christina Aguilera's ‘Beautiful’ Explores Obsessions with 'Influencer Culture'


SMUGGLER’S Fiona Jane Burgess focusses on themes of body image for the 20th anniversary video

Striking Video for Anniversary of Christina Aguilera's ‘Beautiful’ Explores Obsessions with 'Influencer Culture'

Award-winning SMUGGLER director Fiona Jane Burgess’s latest music video is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Christina Aguilera's ‘Beautiful’. Fiona delves into what is plaguing the youth of today, focusing on the themes of body dysmorphia through the lens of plastic surgery, pills and makeup. We gain an intimate social commentary on the distorted aspects of beauty that are being funnelled through social media. This depiction of the invisible threat and young people’s ever-growing obsession with 'influencer culture' is eerily executed as we see it from their eyes.

The video starts with a series of children blankly staring at their phones, their eyes lit up by their phone screens. Through striking storytelling, Fiona brings each character’s insecurity to life as the camera pans from different perspectives. Young girls stare at themselves in the mirror, covered in cosmetic surgery incision lines, not convinced by the song’s powerful lyrics. 

There isn’t a topic that Fiona shy's away from, we see this as one teenager is battling with mental health and self-harm issues, a razor blade laid beside him. There is raw honesty in every vignette. 

The video ends with a powerful shot of kids playing hopscotch and climbing trees. It is a reminder that should be instilled in every child; it’s okay to just be a kid.

Director Fiona Jane Burgess shares more about the project, “This film is a love letter to young people in 2022. It’s an acknowledgement of the fact that social media has totally transformed our relationship with our bodies, and in turn, our mental health. Young people are constantly fed images of unrealistic beauty standards, and with more images and influencers than ever circulating online, it’s virtually impossible to control what information young people consume. This in turn has created an online world which can be as positive as it is volatile. This film explores the tension between progression versus regression in terms of beauty standards and how our cultural relationship to it has evolved in the last twenty years, specifically in relation to the impact it’s having on children and young people.

Research suggests that time spent on social networking sites is associated with body image issues and disordered eating in teens. According to emergency room trends, there’s been a 50% increase in reported self-injury among teenagers since 2009. According to a paper published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, more than half of girls and one-third of boys ages six to eight are unhappy with their body weight. And more than 80 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being 'fat.' This is heart breaking. This needs to change. And this film aims to be part of that change.

This film is an act of resilience. A celebration of courage and self love. A love letter, a signal for change in the way we perceive beauty. My hope is that this film opens up a conversation around the potential harm associated with what images and messages children are consuming, if it’s not spoken about and discussed. I think a lot of children and young people feel suffocated by the online world but don’t know if they’re alone in feeling this way, so for me this film is about acknowledging that they aren’t alone, that it’s normal to have insecurities and to try to have a balanced view of social media and not let it dictate the way we think of ourselves.” 


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Genres: Storytelling, People

Categories: Short Films and Music Videos, Music video

SMUGGLER, Thu, 20 Oct 2022 15:15:56 GMT