Woman ditched smiling for 40 years to avoid wrinkles

Tess Christian, 50, nicknamed ‘Mona Lisa’ by her friends, claims her strategy is more a natural, cost-effective way of forestalling facial wrinkles

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A British woman has gone without smiling for 40 years, more than two thirds of her life, in a move to forestall the wrinkles associated with old age.

“I don’t have wrinkles because I have trained myself to control my facial muscles,” Tess Christian, 50, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

“Everyone asks if I’ve had Botox, but I haven’t, and I know that it’s thanks to the fact I haven’t laughed or smiled since I was a teenager. My dedication has paid off, I don’t have a single line on my face,” she said.

Her friends have given her the nickname of “Mona Lisa” because of her atypical demeanor.

Tess’ habit began when she was a teenager at a strict Catholic school that discouraged pupils from smiling.

“The joyless nuns there didn’t like children to smile. I was always told to wipe the smile off my face so I learnt to smirk instead,” Tess said.

Later in her life, she found the somber expression suited her.

“If I did smile I developed big hamster cheeks that made me look deranged. I looked up to old-school Hollywood icons such as Marlene Dietrich for inspiration; she never smiled and I loved the way she shouldered glamorously.”

Withholding her smile wasn’t easy at first, she explained.

“When I found something funny or I was tempted to laugh — which happened on a daily basis — I learned to control my facial muscles by holding them rigid,” Tess explained.

“The corners of my mouth might go up a little but I never looked anything other than faintly amused. Friends knew I was fun to be around, so it wasn’t an issue.”

Tess claims her strategy is more natural and cost-effective.

“Yes, I am vain and want to remain youthful. My strategy is more natural than Botox and more effective than any expensive beauty cream or facial,” she told the daily.

She also says it has not come in the way of her relationships with other people.

A number of celebrities including Kim Kardashian have admitted to using the unorthodox practice and some experts believe the trick might just work.

However, some mental health professionals have noted the importance of smiling for people’s psychological wellbeing.