I’ve never been very photogenic. Even as a child, a picture of me where I actually look good and presentable was a rare ask. But last week, I made a shocking discovery that has uprooted my very understanding of photography. During a trip to Six Flags with some friends, we decided to go on my favorite roller coaster: Kingda Ka. Naturally, we purchased the photo of us going down the steepest drop. And that’s when I realized: I looked hot. I always look hot in roller coaster photos. At first I thought it was a fluke, but then I thought back to every other roller coaster photo I’ve ever taken and realized, oh my god, I only look hot in roller coaster pictures.
I was reeling, and not just because I was still dizzy from the ride.
As an adrenaline junkie, I’ve been on countless roller coasters at numerous theme parks. And on every single one, I get a picture. And in every single picture, I look undeniably great. I was good looking in coaster pics as a six-year-old, all through adolescence, and right on through until now. I apparently never look as hot as I do when I’m experiencing g-force, nausea, high intensity wind, and plummeting seven stories in a rickety cart.
How is it so that no school picture taker, no JCPenney studio photog, not even any of my closest friends, family, or significant others could take a photo of me looking even decent, but that an automatically activated camera perched atop the highest point of a squeaking, trembling thrill ride could so readily capture the essence of my distinct and unparalleled beauty? They’re missing one key element: wind resistance.
One time I shared a roller coaster photo on a dating site, and when I eventually met up with a guy for a date, he just said, “What happened? You look nothing like you did on that roller coaster.” And that’s when I was positive that this was true.
Maybe it’s the flush in my face from being so filled with adrenaline that makes me appear so youthful and vibrant. Maybe it’s the volume of my hair. Perhaps it’s the subconscious fear of being hit in the face by a tourist’s vomit that gives me that look of mystery, but also the air of excitement that is almost orgasmic. Hell, it may even be the unattractive strangers in the seats around me that are making me look so gorgeous by comparison. Whatever it is, it is present when I am seated on any moving roller coaster and at no other time when I am being photographed.
I suppose I could hire a professional photographer with lights and lenses and filters to take my picture and confirm that I truly do look ugly in every one that isn’t taken on a coaster. But that would cost money, and I need that money to visit theme parks and get the only glamorous shots of me that are able to be captured. As devastating of a blow as this realization is to my ego and sense of self-worth, I will have to accept it. My only hope is that sharing my tragic fate will help others come to terms with their luck in photogenia. It’s all I can ask for.