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Rachel Mcadams Mole Growth

Seeing Rachel McAdams’ moles in Fire Saga allowed me to finally love my own

Rachel McAdams

I have a lot of moles. Last time I checked, there were seven on my face, 15 on my left arm, 18 on my right arm, and so many on my back that I’ve never managed a full count.

If you’re being poetic, I’ve got constellations on my skin. If you’re being realistic, I got bad sunburn as a kid and now I look like a chocolate chip cookie.

Like many people with visible differences on their skin, I’ve spent a lot of time hating my moles because they set me apart. But earlier this week, I had a welcome revelation while watching the film Eurovision Song Contest: Fire Saga.

It’s a film that follows Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (McAdams) on their journey to perform at Eurovision. While great, it wasn’t the plot that held my attention most.

I realised part way through that Rachel McAdams was moley. Like me. And not just a teeny little freckle mole. She’s got a proper, significant, raised mole on the side of her face which, for once, wasn’t covered by airbrushing, her hair or make-up.

And it felt incredible to see.

I’ve been watching McAdams for a long time – I was a teenager in the 00s, so I’ve seen Mean Girls and The Notebook at least a thousand times each. But this was the first time I’d ever really noticed her skin, not airbrushed or made up, and without her hair covering the side of her face.

Presumably because someone, somewhere, decided that in order to be conventionally beautiful it would be more convincing to give her clear, unmarked skin.

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Rebecca Reid

When a major characteristic of your face is regularly edited away, often at great expense, it’s hard not to absorb the message that your skin is wrong.

As a teenager, I cried over how ugly my skin was. I spent hours researching how I could have them removed, and when I discovered that I would be left with a body full of little scars, the same size as my moles, I felt powerless and miserable.

I once even tried to scratch one off myself, having read online that it’s possible (it’s not, don’t try it.) In fact, most of the photos I posted of myself in my teens and early twenties have been badly edited to remove any sign of them.

Once I started investigating famous women with moles, I realised that it’s incredibly common.

Seeing Rachel McAdams, who is unquestionably beautiful and incredibly talented, on screen with her moles – the kind of moles I have – really has made me feel better

Katy Perry has them on her back. Jennifer Lawrence has moles all over her chest, which you don’t see on screen. Gigi Hadid’s back and torso are scattered with them in real life, but rarely in ad campaigns.

It seems that they are grouped together with spots, something to be removed during the retouching progress.

Unfortunately, I also found lots of internet forums where men were discussing how ‘disgusting’ moles on celebrity women are. These men – hiding behind cartoon characters for profile pictures – were discussing how they wouldn’t sleep with Rachel McAdams because she’s ‘fucking gross’, or that it’s such a shame Katy Perry is ‘ruined’.

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These reactions are perhaps unsurprising, when you consider what bad press moles have had over the years. They’re apparently okay if you’ve got a delicate little ‘beauty spot’ above your lip à la Marilyn Monroe.

But real moles – the kind that don’t appear in isolation and occasionally have a tendency to sprout hair? Hard to love.

Model Gigi Hadid presents a creation by designer Bruno Sialelli as part of his Fall/Winter 2020/21 women

In Austin Powers there’s an entire running gag that Mike Myers can’t talk to a man with a mole on his face without shouting ‘moley, moley, mole’.

The witches in the storybooks that I grew up reading always had them, and warts – and the two were often conflated despite the fact that warts are caused by a virus and moles are not. And, on the topic of witches, moles were historically known as ‘witch marks’ and could be used as evidence that a woman was working with Satan.

I remember children at school asking me how I got them, in worried tones, as if being close to me might mean they were similarly afflicted.

Of course, considering that I’m nearly 30, I shouldn’t require a role model in order to feel good about my skin. But seeing Rachel McAdams, who is unquestionably beautiful and incredibly talented, on screen with her moles – the kind of moles I have – really has made me feel better.

It chipped away at that old lingering sense that I would be prettier, better, more valid, if my skin were completely smooth and uninterrupted.

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Until now I have deleted photos where I look moley, or covered as many of them up with make-up as is possible.

But having watched Rachel McAdams pull her hair back to reveal her moles, and look beautiful doing it, I am resolving to do better, and to embrace my own.

Maybe one rainy afternoon I’ll even set aside an hour or two to work out exactly how many I have.

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