We all need a break from doom scrolling, and a social media account reimagining the nation’s political class offers a weird and worthy distraction.
Instagram page @hotaustralianpoliticians posts heavily photoshopped images of Australian politicians that have confounded and delighted followers.
Each post includes a creatively retouched image of an Australian political leader, with users swiping left or clicking the arrow to compare the ‘hot’ version to an untouched photo.
The New Daily spoke to the Sydneysider behind the amusing experiment in pretty politics.
It originated as an “inside joke” between page creator Liam, who preferred not to reveal his surname, and his co-workers.
“We were laughing about how strange and funny it would be if politicians were held to the same sort of vanity standards that celebrities are,” Liam said.
The 27-year-old said the page was a “silly joke between friends”, but had recently started taking off.
It launched on April 14 and already boasts more than 7000 followers, no small effort with just 33 posts.
It comes with a disclaimer: “Please know these are jokes and the beauty standard is evil etc”, the page bio reads.
The character limit cut him short, but when given the opportunity by TND, Liam expanded on the “etc.”
“The point of the page is not to expect this level of vanity from our politicians. Nobody looks like that really,” he explained.
It has encouraged a bit of light-hearted banter during hard times and should not be confused with political commentary, Liam said.
“It’s not to sway anyone to vote in any particular way. It’s a non-partisan place, for the most part, to come and have a laugh,” he said.
But Liam does avoid including too many female politicians as he feels they are already held to an unfair standard when it comes to their appearance, compared to their male counterparts.
Victorians won’t be shocked to learn the most popular image among followers was of the state’s chief health officer Brett Sutton.
The man barely needed a filter at all.
Though not technically a politician, Professor Sutton’s looks have won him fans since the pandemic began.
“I think it’s fair. He’s an objectively good-looking man outside of the filters,” Liam said.
As reported by The New Daily in 2020, someone even made a line of merchandise featuring the CHO’s face.
There’s no denying that being conventionally attractive has perks.
‘Pretty privilege’ is the theory that people who are considered beautiful are automatically perceived to be more intelligent, trustworthy and capable.
But Liam doesn’t think ‘pretty privilege’ should have a place in Australian politics, and beauty should be the last thing on anyone’s mind when heading to the polls.
“Obviously we should be getting people in where we support their policies and what’s best for the country or the local area. I really don’t think vanity should ever be an aspect of politics,” he said.
If you’re looking for more celebrity doppelgangers, the “hot” version of Labor MP Chris Bowen is a dead ringer for That 70s Show star Ashton Kutcher.
Liam whips up the photos using an app and a combination of filters, hair styles and airbrushing tools.
Although it started as a joke, he’s happy to keep it going and is feeling a bit of pressure to provide fresh content now that more eyes are watching.
So, if there’s a politician you’d like to see featured on the page with a fun make-over, send them through to his inbox.