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Why I had my teeth filed into fangs

We talk to London-based filmmaker Tessa Edwards about big canines and obscure beauty trends

You might have already come across London-based filmmaker, Tessa Edwards. Possibly at one of her early fashion shows, like that one she staged in a forbidden forest, where models clad in gold and crystals walked against an otherworldly video backdrop. Or maybe you came across her candid StyleLikeYou video, where she talks about the pressures of the fashion industry, having left it all behind her. If not, you must have seen her at Tinaween, where she hands down always has the best looks. In fact, she always looks amazing. At yet according to Tessa, she’s always felt like there was something missing: big canines.

Call it a tooth fetish or maybe even an orc fetish (she once dated a guy with orc-like teeth), Tessa’s been fiddling around with her teeth since she was a kid. She once superglued Claires Accessories Swarovski earrings to every bracket on her braces. “It lasted two weeks at school till I eventually ended up swallowing most of them,” she says. She’s also tried filing her teeth several times DIY style, but without any meaningful results, that is until she found Dr Rhona Eskander and had her canines transformed professionally into two perfect points with added resin and a lot of filing. When we think of body modification, we think of it in terms of extremes, but in Tessa’s case these alterations are incredibly subtle and yet their effect is palpable. Here we talk to Tessa about life with fangs and the future of beauty.

What do you think sharpening your teeth has given your face in terms of symmetry and overall aesthetic?
Tessa Edwards: I think I look more feline, my smile has widened, and they even push my lips out a bit too...which is all quite flattering. I do also think there is a more subtle visual message, that maybe only speaks to the primordial subconscious, where the teeth fit into a ‘predatory’ cast.

When we think of modification particularly in regards to teeth it's usually very extreme, you’ve gone for a more subtle version. Why’s this?
Tessa Edwards: Because it's workable, practical and real. Also, I have a tight bite and what's called a ‘Class 2’ jaw (Kate Moss has this too apparently. Fab.) so until I get braces to widen it I actually can’t go bigger or they will just crack and also can cause headaches.

So do you think you’ll go more extreme in the future?
Tessa Edwards: Maybe after I get braces. But not now.

How do they make you feel?
Tessa Edwards: Sexy wexy.

Do you think you look beautiful?
Tessa Edwards: I would say 'better'. I have even stopped wearing make-up most of the time.

Do you know anyone else who has had it done?
Tessa Edwards: No, I don't know anyone else, but then I do know people who have got veneers and I think that's more bonkers. I know of people who have done tooth sharpening, for example in Japan there was a trend called Yaeba, also tribes from Ethiopia to Sumatra do this in varying degrees for various reasons.

Do you see it becoming a trend?
Tessa Edwards: When I initially had it done back in October I was going to put it on Instagram but decided not to because I actually really didn't want anyone to copy me. Especially just for trend's sake. It kind of cheapens it for me.

Tell us a bit about the procedure? Did it hurt?
Tessa Edwards: Just like going to get my acrylic nails done. It didn't hurt at all

How did you find a dentist to do it?
Tessa Edwards: Well, I just happen to know "the best cosmetic dentist in London" (she wins loads of awards every year and is quite fabulous). Dr Rhona Eskander. She is great and is my mate. She also was a bit distressed when she found out I as filing my own teeth, so offered to help.

What effect have they had on how people interact with you?
Tessa Edwards: Actually no one has really noticed. But I reckon people aren't sure why they suddenly find me sexier, but then that could be many reasons really.  

What do you think your new teeth convey to people who don't know you?
Tessa Edwards: I really don't think they would consciously notice.

Have they changed your perception of beauty?
Tessa Edwards: Nope.  I have always thought that "beauty" is so subjective, and it's what suits each individual. Getting it wrong or right depends on the person's values I guess. I do think it's cool to have your own thing going on though, it makes things interesting.

Here's a deep quote from a philosopher:

And everyone is blonde
And everyone is beautiful
And when blondes and beautiful are multiple
They become so dull and dutiful
And when faced with dull and dutiful
They fire red warning flares
Battle-khaki personality
With red underwear
- Rotterdam (or Anywhere), The Beautiful South

What kind of things do you have to do in terms of upkeep? Is there anything you can't do? How long do they last?
Tessa Edwards: Urgh...well, I will probably have to get them sharpened or even re-done quite a bit, because as I said, my bite is until I sort that out I will probably keep chipping them.  Last month I had a crazy dream and chewed one right off then swallowed it. Otherwise, they are supposed to last like 10 years.

What do you think is the future of beauty?
Tessa Edwards: I wonder if there will be a beauty apocalypse where everyone has had so much crap done to them that they implode and turn into a synthetic zombie slime mass that then gets injected into the universe's equivalent of its own arse. I think maybe that's what Stevie hawking was on about...  

What are you working on at the moment?
Tessa Edwards: My new 'digital media' company, Dead Tom Moving Image.  We are doing a few very exciting projects with VR and stuff...