Fabulous but Unsigned
Nekesa Mumbi Moody chronicles a common complaint, especially among high-ranking women in the music business:
If you don't look better than you sound, the recording industry doesn't want you.
And it's true. Armchair quarterbacks are already noting that Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones both got bumped from American Idol because they don't "look" like a superstar, whatever that means.
I've spoken with lots of women in the music business who work on the other side of the glass because they were told they weren't pretty enough to be in front of the mic. And, as much as that crushed them at the time, they sign and promote other beautiful women because that's what the major labels believe will sell records.
Of course, "getting famous," "getting signed," and "making a living making music" are three completely separate things. And they often tend to be mutually exclusive. As Moody points out, the Search for the Next Pussycat Doll guarantees a record contract for the winner, but not necessarily fame or money. So if a record label's ever turned you down because you had the chops but not the looks (or the youth), count yourself lucky. Your DNA probably just helped you dodge a bullet.