Mind the Gap
It’s time to celebrate. In this perfection-obsessed world, where the ultimate compliment for a teenage girl is to describe her as looking air-brushed and when people Photoshop holiday snaps, thankfully there is still room for a little character, something different. The gap-toothed smile. Diastema, to give it its medical term, creates an unforgettable smile which can cause some of us to go weak at the knees. The French are fans of the gap tooth, and refer to them as ‘dents du bonheur’, or lucky teeth. Lucky indeed.
Listen to our documentary on the gap-tooth: Mind the Gap
Upper class bounder? Bit of a scoundrel? Check jacket, leather elbow patches, monocle every now and again? If it was a Fifties film it was probably played by Terry Thomas, most famous for using “hell-airrrr” as a term of sleazy approbation and the gap in his teeth which was apparently 1/3 of an inch wide, thus putting him at the top of our leader board. Well, we don’t actually have a leader board of people with gaps in their teeth, as that would be time consuming and slightly unnecessary but if we did, he would be.
The super-model and ex-Mrs David Walliams is famed for her gappiness, and how refreshing it is to see a little bit of character in a magazine full of unremitting perfect features. She says she was asked to fix the gap and declined, saying she loved her teeth. Ms Stone, we salute you.
Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson, director and highest all time box office star, has another gap in his teeth you could drive a bus through. Actually being, Samuel L Jackson, the bus would have to be full of snakes, on fire and driven by a pretty-boy co-star, but no matter. His unique grin allows him to shift uncomfortably from bonhomie to threat; look no further than Pulp Fiction.
The original sex kitten, wide-eyed and tousle-haired. No, not Elton John, he comes later, but Brigitte Bardot. As a teenager she wanted to be a ballerina and the other pupils at ballet school referred to her as Bichette (Little Doe) because of her large, appealing eyes and gap teeth. She began modelling at 15, then became one of France’s most famous women, representing French symbol of liberty Marianne, enjoying a vivid personal life and introducing France to the bikini.
See? NOW it’s Elton. What a life. Sir Elton Hercules John has sold over 300 million records. Friend of Princesses, fooled by pranksters into thinking he was talking to Vladimir Putin, husband and father, honorary Life President of Watford Football Club, advocate for gay rights, host of best parties ever (we’ve heard), and a gap in his teeth that means he’s an expert taxi-whistler. Although we can’t imagine he ever has to do that. Probably has his own taxi-whistler. Or he gets the bus.
Another musical powerhouse. Madonna burst on the scene in the 1980s and instantly a generation of school girls ripped their tights, wore muscle-strain-inducing quantities of bracelets and applied Magic Marker beauty spots. Always a bit of a chameleon, Madonna can shift between a demure Marilyn and conical bra wearing warrior. But always with the same defiant gap-tooth grin.
Now here’s someone whose unusual smile is used to denote weakness rather than strength. Steve Buscemi, pale and wild-eyed, permanently looks as if he’s just woken up in the boot of a car and his snaggle and gap-teeth add to his air of not entirely being in control. He said he’d never fix his teeth as he’d never work again.
28 Vogue appearances, despite being advised as a young model to fill the gap in her teeth. She tried mortician’s wax (don’t ask), which didn’t work, then tried to have it capped but because of the splendid person she is she kept either laughing it out or swallowing it. She gave up trying to fix it and her glorious imperfection shone out throughout her career as one of the most gorgeous, funny and down-to-earth models ever.