Janetta Mackay: Confession of a pale-face

By Janetta Mackay

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Janetta Mackay putting at the stunning Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course in Fiji where 15 of the 18 holes overlook the ocean.
Janetta Mackay putting at the stunning Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course in Fiji where 15 of the 18 holes overlook the ocean.

A few weeks ago I played a round of golf for the first time in years. The course was stunning, the score shocking - but even more of a worry was my white legs.

They've been under wraps all winter and I'd been too busy to bother with the fake tan before we went to Fiji. Looking at the photographs, this was clearly a mistake. It's all very well deluding yourself that you have dancer's calves, but the reality is my solid legs look pudgy as well as pale - or should that be because they are pale?

A self-confessed tanaholic I interviewed told me she was addicted to being brown because it made her look and feel thinner. I'm beginning to think she has a point. Usually I do put a little fake tan on my legs, at least, but this year I've been toying with the idea of extending my white is all right policy all over.

I've never been much into actual tanning, well not since my mid-teens. This wasn't because I had the foresight of a budding beauty editor, rather that I just didn't like lying in the sun and I was desperate to differentiate myself from the pack.

So I swanned around in hats, imagining I looked pale or interesting or on the fashionable side of punk.

In retrospect, this has been a sound decision for my upper half. Although my arms show the effects of not extending sun protection all over, my face and decolletage are in pretty good nick. Playing golf at the breath-taking Natadolo Bay Championship Golf Course reminded me that my only sustained lapse in looking after my skin from the sun was about 20 years earlier when I used to get out on the golf course more regularly. It's hard to spend 3-4 hours outdoors without colouring up, however, diligent you are with sunscreen. Harder still in tropical heat when it slides off your face and you wipe it into your eyes.

After a week in Fiji, I was the only the member of the family who didn't come home with a touch of sunburn, so that was something. The upside was I got to try out a few new sunscreens, which came in handy for writing this week's print column in Viva. The downside was I was struck with a bad case of envy my more olive-skinned daughter's tanned, athletic legs. I can't easily change the shape of mine, but next time I expose them, I'm just going to have to give in and test some fake tan as well.


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