When Gracie Lorincz accidentally received an email from a potential employer claiming she was not "cute enough" for a role, she sparked a conversation about pretty privilege.
Pretty privilege may not feel like a real thing to some of us, but our physical appearance may play a larger role in the opportunities and treatment we receive than we might think. Perhaps no one understands this better than Gracie Lorincz, a 21-year-old graduate from Michigan. Lorincz recently graduated from Hope College and applied for a brand representative position at Ava Lane Boutique, a clothing store in Auburn Hills, Michigan. After her interview, she received a rather unsettling email from the boutique, one she was never supposed to receive. It claimed that she was "not that cute," and hence, did not make a good candidate for the role. When the young woman posted about the experience on TikTok, thousands came to her defense, Bored Panda reports.
Gracie Lorincz is not interested in inciting the backlash mob any further but she hopes her TikTok is empowering in the way that the email she received wasn’t. https://t.co/PtdL3WKroh— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) July 12, 2021
The email read, "This girl is fresh out of college (Hope college) and not that cute. She applied to the sales model position. Are you sure you want me to interview her?" It was sent out by the Vice President of Operations, Chuck DeGrendel, who is also the boutique owners' husband. When Lorincz took to TikTok to share the email, thousands of people were just as outraged as she was. She added that the most ironic part of the whole situation was that Ava Lane Boutique's motto was "beauty through confidence."
The young graduate's video went viral, reaching over 1.3 million people. As word of the email spread, DeGrendel and his partner Laura were forced to deliver an apology. Allegedly, the couple and their employees had received threats. Taking to Facebook, they held a live video conference during which the VP of Operations apologized for his actions. He stated, "I didn’t feel she was that cute. So I didn’t know if I wanted to proceed with an interview. I don’t know why I said that, but I did, and I am very sorry for saying that." Unfortunately, few viewers believed that their apology was sincere.
Although she declined an interview, Lorincz explained that she posted the video "to call out bad behavior and to encourage individuals to stand up for themselves." She noted, "I don’t want to prolong the narrative... I want to spin this situation into a positive one." In addition to this, she clarified that she never asked her followers to contact the boutique, its owners, or its employees. "Hi, this has gotten a lot more attention than I had ever imagined," she commented on her own video. "Thank you so much for the support, but please leave his family out of this."
Ultimately, Lorincz spurred a conversation about the role one's appearance plays in the doors that open for them. One TikTok user commented, "You really trying to destroy their lives because they operate like every other capitalistic business." Another added, "He has a Bachelor's in Engineering, what would he know about being a brand ambassador?" While the jury is out on whether the boutique had the right to reject the 21-year-old because of her appearance, Lorincz's experience is a reminder that even those who are qualified for certain roles are often rejected because they do not look a certain way.