You are more beautiful than you think.
That's the slogan of a new Dove soap campaign, which has employed the services of a retired San Jose police sketch artist to prove its point.
Gil Zamora, a nationally renowned forensic artist trained by the FBI, was asked to sketch women who came into his studio without ever seeing them. He'd ask questions about their chins and eyes, and invariably he'd get answers about how fat the women thought they looked or how wide their foreheads were. He'd draw their answers.
Then he asked strangers to look at these same women and ask for descriptions. Almost always, these strangers came back with more positive reflections. If a woman thought her own chin was too pointy, the stranger saw that chin as thin.
When Zamora, who worked for SJPD from 1995 to 2011, showed the women the two sketches - the stranger's version more beautiful than their own - many teared up. They too, saw that their self-reflection wasn't flattering.
"What has stayed with me are the emotional reactions the women had when they viewed the composite sketches hung side by side," said Zamora, who has drawn more than 3,000 sketches in his 28-year-career.
One woman identified only as "Florence," acknowledged that she should be more grateful of her natural beauty. Other women realized that their versions of themselves made them look "closed off and sad."
Dove, which is based in New Jersey, is calling these "Real Beauty Sketches," and using this to illustrate in a social experiment the ongoing struggle women have with recognizing their own beauty.