Putting My Best Face Forward

Have you ever heard of Ford Models? No, not the cars. The modeling agency. There was a ImageFord Modeling Agency about a mile from our home, and I signed up for classes when I was nineteen. I had no illusions of being a model in New York City; I was simply tired of being gawky.

For me, it was like acting. I loved learning about hair, fashion, and how to walk a runway, but most of all, I loved learning how to apply makeup.

I was reminded of this fun time in my life yesterday as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror applying full makeup. I wanted more coverage than that of the mineral powders everyone is pushing right now, so I went full-spackle with a foundation, followed by a light dusting of loose powder. Blush, three shades of brown shadow, false lash mascara, eyebrow pencil, lip liner, and an all day lipstick. I removed the hot rollers that were curling my hair, and I picked out a pretty maroon shirt with a nice detail and gold buttons.

Twenty minutes later I was having my picture taken as I renewed my driver’s license.

That’s right. I put on all that make-up for my driver’s license photo. For four years, I’ve had the driver’s license from hell. The lighting is terrible in the BMV, and my last picture had yellow hair. Not blonde, but bright yellow! Last week I chose to do my hair in a light auburn shade simply Imagebecause of the upcoming picture. There was no way they could turn auburn into yellow. Four years ago, I had chopped off most of my hair, and I don’t know if I tumbled out of bed just before I had the picture taken, but my hair looked like something styled by Moe of the Three Stooges. Every time I had to hand that license to someone (I still write a lot of checks), I wanted to die, or at least melt into the floor.

Yesterday, I was determined to get a good picture worthy of the next four years.

It was windy as I walked into the BMV. I was aware of my hair blowing around. Before I could even take a number and sit down, I was called to the counter. What are the odds of that happening? There wasn’t a spare second to run a brush through my hair before the woman wanted to take my picture. I told myself it would be ok; my windblown hair would give the picture a sexy look.

I looked down into the camera, because it wasn’t at eye level. I expected a “1-2-3” or at least a “ready?” from the woman, but the next thing I knew, she was telling me to have a seat. Five minutes later, I was walking out with my new license.

The picture is on the dark side. My makeup doesn’t show up whatsoever, and my hair is blonde, not auburn. It doesn’t look windblown and sexy; it looks like someone flattened it. There is no expression on my face, no smile, and as the picture was taken at an angle from under my chin, I look like a criminal.

The only good thing about the license – IT’S PINK! Image

I cry false advertising!!  Her picture is well lit. You can see the highlighting under her eyebrows, and her lipstick even shows. She has a smile, and the picture was taken straight on. I’m hating on our BMV today.

I’m finally going to make the move to a debit card so I never have to hand my license over to anyone ever again. Well, other than the policeman who is surely going to stop me one of these days as I blow up and down the Interstate to and from my mother’s house. He’ll think I look like a criminal and run a background check on me.

Do you try to look your best for your driver’s license? Are you happy with your picture? Do you look like a criminal?

115 thoughts on “Putting My Best Face Forward

  1. I know how you feel. A lot of people hate theirs.
    I was 3 months pregnant in mine & very bloated because of it. I had the worst morning sickness ever & we were waiting for what felt like an eternity. (Everything’s an eternity at that stage, right? If were not closeby a sterile bathroom at all times…) I look so digusted and disgusting because somehow I look morbidly obese when I was only about 140lbs. My hair looked nasty and unkempt too when it was really just destroyed by neck sweat from the 90 degree, no air-conditioning heat in the place.
    Oh well.
    I feel your pain.

    • Oh, how unfair is that?! Pregnant women should be allowed to postpone their license renewal until after the baby is born. The license bureau is so depressing in the first place. My picture is better than the last one, but not by much. 😉

      • I’m sure you look beautiful, Maddie. We are our own worst critic. I know what you mean about the criminal thing, though. I look so pissed off in mine & I look like a bank robber or something. Haha! Maybe we can try out for “Thelma & Louise the prequel”

  2. All of my past license photos are pretty horrible. I have to have mine renewed this Sept and I’m dreading it too. My current one instead of my normal double chin, I have a triple one. Not fair.

    • I remember having a good one once. Maybe that’s why I dream of getting another one that will look good. Because this camera is literally a waist level, and you have to look down, you are going to get a double chin whether you want one or not. And jowls.

      My advice. Shop around. I am never going back to my local BMV. I’m going to look at more locations and see what the atmosphere is like, the lighting, the level of the camera, and how friendly the people are. If I have to drive all the way to Columbus to find out where they took the picture of the lady in the sample, I’m going to do it.

    • You have heard of Ford Models because you are a Renaissance Man, Tim. I would expect nothing less. 😉

      Yes on the checks. I would be overdrawn all the time if I had to rely on my own memory and lost receipts to keep my account balanced. Most places print them anyway, so all I have to do is sign and hand over. I still send checks through the mail, too. They’ll drag me kicking and screaming off that pony express!

  3. I wrote about a similar topic about a couple of months ago. To me, it’s a total crap shoot as to whether the photo will end being on I won’t hesitate to show others. And no pun intended by use of the words “crap shoot” 🙂

  4. I am not happy with my license at all. The thing was I had to wait for hours to get the picture taken,I look pissed in the photo.And I not sure if that is good or bad hehe. I think its universal to people not like their license pic.They always have a knack to click the moment just after you put the best face forward don’t they?Nice story of your license debacle 😀 Try again later,I suppose wearing red works.

  5. I’m sorry your picture didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to be, Maddie!

    Thankfully the photo on my driver’s license is not too bad, though I never use it anyway. However, the picture in my passport is absolutely terrible. It was taken when I was 16 or 17, and my passport is for five years, and renewable for another five, so I’m stuck with it until I’m 27 or so. Sigh.

    • Would you believe I don’t have a passport, Zen? The laws changed, and I think I might need one if I ever want to go back to Niagara Falls and visit the Canadian side. Now you have given me another picture to obsess about. 😉

      You’ll be using that passport to come to the states soon, yes?

      • Haha, well at least with passports you can get your own pictures. I think.
        And hopefully! It really all depends on how quickly my paperwork can get done. 🙂

        • While it’s true you can provide your own picture, it does not mean they can’t, or won’t screw it up. I took pains to get two decent photos of myself and my wife, and sent them in . . .

          They did not actually use the photos, but scanned them, and scanned them badly.

          . . . really, just give up, and give in to the bad picture.

    • Paula, did you have more wind than usual last year? It was really noticeable that it was much windier here all summer long. Our son said even some of the OTR truck drivers coming into the shop commented on the wind last year. It seems the trend might continue this year.

      A wee book update: Rich is on vacation next week, and we are planning to finish packing my used book business. It will be out of the house by next Saturday, and then I’m doing some deep cleaning of the first floor. By May 1st, I expect to have a modest supply of M&M’s on hand and will be writing full-time again. In February, I left Susan in Detective Bentley’s office at the police station, and I’m sure he would like to get her out of there. And Mick. And Mick’s son. 😉

      • It is ALWAYS crazy windy here….and where our younger kids live in the panhandle….it’s even crazier.

        Well my hubby is off next week also! He always takes my birthday week off and we go on a trip. THIS year….we are starting our week off by having our old floors torn out and replaced. It will be such a mess! But awesome when it’s all finished. We have some “fun” stuff planned, too.

        You have a lot of work for your week too, it sounds like….but what a nice relief it will be. (I am lazy…I hired someone to come in and deep clean after our floors are down. Having tile torn out is gonna make a horrible mess)

        Enjoy those m & m’s. Oh that Susan…she reminds me so much of a friend of mine named “Maddie”…. 😉 I am looking forward to your next read! ♥

  6. Those places are Evil, with a capitol E. Run by the most rude evil drones they could manufacture. The good thing about living in Canada, I get my drivers license and never have to see it again till I have to renew. We use debit cards almost exclusively up here. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a check. But I hate those pictures taken from those nasty machines. I have 2! One for my DL, and one for my immigration card. It’s just as terrible. It’s a conspiracy I swear it is. 😉 Oh wait, I have 3! I almost forgot my passport, that I HAVE to have here. sighhhhhh

    • Hahaha … they are EVIL, aren’t they? 🙂 Hey, you would know. Do I have to have a passport to come to Canada now?

      I really do need to move to a debit card, but I am a whirling dervish most of the time, and I simply would never remember what I used it for or be able to find my receipts. I would end up being killed by fees. At least I take a second to write my check amount in my book before leaving the store. Unless I am living in the stone age and it is easier than I think.

      • Ummm you are living in a stone age my friend. ahahaha. Debit cards are super easy to use. The only fees you get is if you take money out of an ATM machine. Otherwise, easy peasy. Also, I have an online account so I see what my balance is every day. Nothing could be easier once you get used to it.

        Yes, you need a passport to get into Canada, whether driving or plane. They changed things a couple of years ago. 🙂

  7. The picture on mine has remained the same for eight years. I still remember going to take the pic with my husband, because it was the first time I had left our son in someone else’s care. We had just moved to FL, our baby was on the nursing-every-two-hours schedule, and we just wanted to get done fast. My hair was in a simple ponytail but I still have and love the fuschia cardigan I picked that day. My license came up for renewal last year but a new pic was unnecessary. I guess that’s ok. I can stand to look 28 a bit longer!

    Next time around…maybe I’ll still have the fuschia cardigan. I don’t think those pics come out right for anyone. I admire your effort, though!

    • If I would have had to keep that horrible license for another four years, I would have accidentally lost it in the shredder and paid for a replacement. 😉 A ponytail and a pretty sweater – plus looking younger – all adds up to a license you can live with. I’d wear the sweater again for next one, too. 🙂

  8. No glasses and hat hair is how I will look in my photo for the next few years. I look like I was arrested for public intoxication, but the awareness of which is about two minutes away from reaching me.

    • I love that description! The look on your face in your avatar looks as though you just looked at the picture on your license for the first time. 😉 What’s the story behind the avatar? What were you looking at?

      • It was at a wedding and I was standing beside a bunch of people doing a series of silly poses. That was my reaction.

  9. I go the opposite way . . . I strive to get an awful picture . . . I don’t smile, sort of let my face sag, and let my eyes droop a bit. I’ve had people actually ask me to take another one, and I smile and say “No, thanks; that will do nicely”.

    Hmmm perhaps I should do a post of various driver’s license photos I’ve had . . .

    • Hahaha! That is really funny, Pam, because when I looked at mine I couldn’t figure out how they made me look like Ma Fratelli from The Goonies.

      I had a nice birthday, thank you! My mother took me and Rich, and all of my siblings/their spouses, out for dinner. Then I tried to eat an entire birthday cake. 🙂

  10. Maddie, you might have noticed that I’ve had to go back several decades for a decent photo for my blog. My dear girl, you are not alone. (Why not post your picture and let us see for urselves 🙂 )

  11. My picture is ok except for the part where my mouth is weirdly twisted to the side as if I’m trying to smile whilst holding 5-6 large marbles in my mouth. Last time I renewed it, the lady asked “do you still weigh xxx pounds?” I laughed out loud. I haven’t seen that number or its kin on my scale in 10 years.

    • I think they deliberately snap the picture as soon as they see something odd about your face. My hair was obviously not blonde, and my weight is not the same, yet the woman just left everything as it was before. I guess it doesn’t really matter.

      • Quick rob a bank. Then when the police come you can show rum your lisence and say, “it wasn’t me obviously because the description of the perp doesn’t match my lisence

  12. Oh crap … reading this post made me wonder if my license expired (February) … so before commenting, I had to check …. Whew … it didn’t …. but I didn’t look at my pic.

  13. Maddie, in comparison to my last license pic I’m sure yours is a ‘model’ shot… I kid you not.
    In Australia we are asked not to smile…
    You know, I’m sure, as one gets older a smile has the advantage of taking off a few years… Not only does my pic look drab and flat (no amount of make-up or hair-styling seems to have an appreciable effect) I also look ‘older’ due to the poor lighting and shadows… Ackkkk… Worst of all, I have to wait another almost 4 years before needing to ‘renew’ my license and photo… then I WILL be older… acckkkk, again…!
    However, we are not alone (as the many comments before me attest to.) 😉

    • I hope you’ve not gone onto other things just yet, Carolyn. 😉 I’ve been away from my blog for a while and am trying to do a little catching up tonight.

      I suppose the best thing about these pictures on our licenses is that the general public doesn’t see them. If I would quit writing so many checks, no one would see my license. And if it wouldn’t cost so much, I would conveniently lose this one in the shredder and go get a replacement. 😉 Instead, I’m planning for my next visit in four years.

  14. I definitely look like a criminal. I can’t even ask the clerk, “Don’t I have an honest face in person – let alone when she looks at my license! My worst picture – Costco card. I don’t even look female, let alone decent. Totally black and white. My best picture was in a fitness club about 15 years ago. Of course, 15 years ago I didn’t feel like I looked young and attractive. That’s the great thing about age. When you look at your old pictures you realize that you didn’t look so bad! Look back at this picture in 20 years, and you’ll think -“Oooo that’s the best DMV picture ever!” I think it’s cute!!! My other best picture is my gravitar picture. The funny thing is that the metal folding chairs behind me blend into my hair, and make it look SOOOOOO much fuller than it really is. And I love the red brick background of the wall. Thank you folding chairs! 🙂

    • Hi Marsha! Your gravitar is really pretty. I didn’t even think of blending the folding chair into your hair, but I see it now. 😉 Those Costco / Sam’s Club cards are horrible! I had one from Sam’s, and yes, the black/white makes you look like an alien. My mother looked like a zombie in hers. Very unforgiving. In twenty years, I won’t care. I just hope I still have my teeth. 😉

  15. I can relate. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on hair and makeup on my driver’s license photo day. I thought I was “picture ready” for the big photo shoot. The result? It looks like two different people’s faces were poorly spliced together.

    • I think the workers are sworn to try to get the worst possible picture. There can’t be this many terrible photos without some type of conspiracy. 😉

      I’ll be by soon to see what’s been happening at the farm!

  16. It could not possibly be as bad as mine!! It rivals that infamous mug shot of Nick Nolte’s!!! If you haven’t seen it…google it…you’ll feel better about your license, believe me!!

    • Hi, UL! Four years is a long time to live with a picture you hate. I checked tonight, and it would cost $24.50 to have my license replaced. At that price, I guess I can live with the hate for another four years, but if it was under $10, I’d be down there tomorrow. … That’s actually a good idea. They should offer “do-overs” for $9.99. That would put a ton of extra money in the state coffers.

  17. This post really made me laugh! My own drivers license and passport pictures right now are horrific. Seriously. What really irks me is that the person in the (otherwise empty!) shop took the photo with a digital camera. Rather than checking with me if I was happy, the person just printed it out. Now I’m stuck looking like a manly, bloated really hacket (that’s Glaswegian for ugly) dense person. And I have the pictures, not for four years, but a decade…! Next time, I’m doing it your way! 🙂

    • I always appreciate when you translate for me, Kate! I must incorporate the word hacket into my vocabulary. I’ll use it tomorrow on Rich. 😉

      A decade!! That is just cruel. You must accidentally lose it in your shredder and have it replaced!

      • Lol! My friend Amy is from the US and I’m constantly having to amend what I’ve said because I add all of these Glaswegian phrases. Hacket’s a good one. Use it about anyone who looks dog rough (that might be another Glaswegian phrase, but I’m sure you get where I’m going! 😉 )

        I can’t afford to lose my IDs in the shredder, otherwise I’d embrace the idea – lol! 😉

  18. The fact that you know professional make up and hair tricks but still get a wonky photo is assuring to me.

    I bet you look lovely on a pink background!

    • I remember having one I liked once, but that must have been a million years ago. I think it’s standard operating procedure to send us out the door with pictures that make us look like criminals.

    • Hi Kris! I’ve been MIA for a bit. … Glad I could make you giggle. Do you like your license photo? You seem to be the photogenic type, so I don’t see how they could ruin yours. Is your move coming up soon?

      • Oh, I’ve been VERY MIA if you haven’t noticed. My license is AWFUL. Hopefully I can make it better for a new Colorado state license. The last one was bad b/c the lady who revoked my state ID + left me w/o any identity, made me wait for my birth certificate in the mail….she happened to be the one taking the photo a month later, got upset my hair was even the tiniest bit in my face + I look very very very pissed off. It was not a good day. I’m moved. I got here on Friday.

        • Colorado. Everyone I have ever known who has moved to Colorado has loved it there. They never come back. I hope you will be happy in your new home, Kris. Sounds like a good thing that you can get a new license with a new photo. 😉

  19. Maddie,
    at least you had a choice. When it came to renewing my licence last month I did so on line. I thought that at some stage I would be required to send a scanned photo. I was mistaken. The Government has means to draw on your reflection by itself. My passport picture – on file somewhere in the dark channels of ether – was inserted in my drivers licence! No smile my friend. Nobody is allowed to show his or her teeth on a passport!

    • Hi Rita Kay! I’ve been doing some research, and just today, I came up with an idea for another character in Canada. I think I’ll be writing full-time soon, and I hope the book will come together quickly. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for asking. 🙂

      I read about your aspartame allergy. Our son is highly allergic as well; me to a lesser extent. I’ll be by as soon as I can to catch up with your blog!

  20. My drivers license photo actually isn’t that bad considering how not photogenic i am. On an old student card photo however I looked like a stoner dude.

    • You are lucky to have decent license picture. I suppose it was quite acceptable to have a student card that looks like a stoner dude. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  21. Oddly, my driver’s license pictures turn out fie. Especially the one where I went straight fro the beach when I lived in California because I suddenly realized it was the last day that I could. But passport pictures– forget it! I look like someone no country should ever allow in. 😦

  22. I had passport pictures recently and I look HORRIBLE. Horrible. I am only left to wonder – is that me & I didn’t realise it, or is it the lighting??

    I can’t believe you put your home details on the internet though – on the licence! Really amazed at that! But do love the pink licence 🙂

    • Trust me, it’s the lighting!! No one should have to have a picture taken in that horrible lighting. LOL! That’s not me. 🙂 That’s the “official” license Ohio puts out to show you how it will look. I think Jane Q Public looks pretty good in that photo. Mine looks like a mugshot.

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