Authenticity Can’t Be Faked

Authenticity Can’t Be Faked

Picture by Brandon Kim

When someone compliments you, how can you tell if they mean it? Is it the look in their eyes? Is it the tone of their voice? Is it their body language? Despite how hard people try, these subtleties lead me to believe authenticity can’t be faked.

An aspect of authenticity comes with experience. Recently, I wrote my online biography for Journalism. In it, I joked about how moms worry past midnight waiting for their teenagers to come home. But when I had my mom read it out loud, she struggled and told me, “That’s not how moms worry. They check their phones before twelve to see if they texted. If not, moms start calling. If their kid doesn’t pick up, it’s safe to assume they died in a car crash.” 

The reason the joke failed is that I’m not a mom. Telling the joke required I take creative liberties, removing any sense of authenticity. Whereas if a mom delivered it, she could accurately convey the anxiety of parenting a teenager.

She struggled while reading because of subtleties in my writing—the reason authenticity is near impossible to fake. An example of subtleties indicating authenticity is the difference between a genuine and picture-ready smile. Someone forcing themselves to smile will not have eye wrinkles, making fake smiles easily detectable.

The subtleties behind genuine emotion make me wonder: how do actors make a living? In La La Land, Emma Stone delivers one of the most authentic performances. She acts out a realistic phone call during an audition that ends in tears—just to be interrupted by someone at the door. Her facial expressions and realism make me wonder what memory she conjured to trigger that accurate response.

I assume actors achieve such realism by playing roles synonymous with their personalities. Stone was likely a wanna-be movie star, interrupted during her big audition just like Mia. Therefore, she grasps how to portray that occurrence accurately. Artists can pay attention to detail all they want, but there is still some semblance of authenticity in their work.

I bring this up to remind myself about the importance of sincerity. No matter how forcefully I smile or how positively I present my responses, my friends and family are likely aware that I am hiding something. So, when I hide my emotions, someone is likely to pick up on it.