When Justin and Hailey Bieber first launched their Face Watch series The Biebers on Watch a few weeks ago, I wrote that this is about as unfiltered as it’s going to get where celebrities are concerned. They’re shooting it themselves, they’re not surrounded by producers, and yes, of course, they’re also editing it, which means they can choose what to show and curate the right moments, but still, it’s refreshing to me that the shots are so imperfect. Like there are so many times during the latest episode where Hailey’s head is cut off because they haven’t framed it right. Every producer and camera operator I know is probably ripping out their cuticles over this. You know what though? I’m glad JB and Hailey can’t shoot for sh-t. Because it reminds us how valuable the professionals are. There is currently uncertainty in every industry, and in the film and TV business, with news anchors and talk show hosts (me included) and everyone else filming from home, getting creative about how to create content during lockdown, there’s been a lot of talk about how this will change when things, if things, go back to normal. And you know how big companies work with cost-cutting and efficiencies so that shareholders can make even more money. This is a reminder that the experts who do these jobs, who produce and floor direct and shoot, are valuable, that they are important members of the creative process. 


Now on to the new Bieber content. This episode is about skin. Hailey’s giving Justin a facial and in that relaxed space – haven’t we all been there? when you’re lying back and getting a treatment and suddenly everything just comes pouring out? – he starts talking about his skin insecurities and adult acne. I was too lazy to watch it again and type it all out so thanks to Buzzfeed here for the quotes:

"I would break out when I got super stressed but it would never stay, but now it's like so cystic and it's bubbly and won't go away. It definitely bugs me. I wear a hat a lot more, which probably makes it a lot worse. I feel like every time I get pimples, [it's] at the worst time. Like, I'll have to do a Grammys performance or like, go on Ellen. I won't have a big pimple for a long time and then I'll get a huge one on my nose [or chin]. I feel like, again, it goes back to stress levels. Those are probably big deals for me. Probably like something that was really important to me so I was probably over-stressing about it. It's the worst for your self-confidence because...especially because all these filters on Instagram. People are like looking perfect with their skin and you feel like that’s a reality.”

Is there anyone in the world who isn’t bothered by pimples and acne? Even the chillest among us aren’t immune to being affected by skin issues – and it’s across gender lines. Clearly, as JB is telling us, it’s not just women who are anxious about their skin. My husband, Jacek, is hyper-aware of how he perceives people to be looking at him when he has a blemish and you could say, by western standards, that he’s a pretty conventional sporty dude. 


There’s also something about that 20-something acne that is such a motherf-cker too. I had no acne problems through my teens but for some reason, when I turned 21, for that entire year, my skin was  exactly the kind of “cystic bubbly” sh-t Justin is talking about. Looking back now, I think it was hormonal. My body was changing internally. And then the stress just exacerbated it. I wore so much cakey makeup to conceal it and I’ll never forget what happened when I had dinner with a guy I was dating and his family. His mother, who always hated me, told me at the table, in front of his cousins and sisters and aunts and uncles, that “wearing all that makeup to cover your pimples will only make your problem worse, Elaine”. Jesus, thinking back on that, I still want to die. 

By the way, she also literally ended that relationship. On the night we broke up, she was the one who started it. After dinner– I don’t know why this woman loved dropping bombs at dinner – as we were getting up to leave the restaurant, she said to him, in front of me, something to the effect of, “You shouldn’t keep putting off breaking up with her since you’re leaving for your trip soon”. Not too long after we split, my skin started clearing up. I always associate that woman with acne and my point, going back to Justin, is acne can leave emotional scars too. And those of us who’ve been there like Justin can totally relate. 

Excellent Bieber content.