This Viral TikTok Shows Why It Can Be Good to Have a Bad Passport Photo

Sometimes being overly photogenic can actually work against you.

When I went to get my passport photo taken, I primped and pampered for nearly two hours. I did a face mask, used my best moisturizer, and carefully followed the guidance of a makeup artist on TikTok to expertly apply my contour and blush in a way that would give me the best "passport makeup." After blowing out my hair, practicing my smize, and treating the Walgreen's photo session like my personal runway, I managed to achieve a really flattering photo for my passport. Mission accomplished. For the next 10 years I'd have a-totally-not-embarrassing image to flash at TSA agents and customs.

Except… When I'm traveling, I couldn't look further from the version of myself who spent two hours carefully applying an ultra subtle fox eyeliner look with a dusky brown pencil. No, typically, I am sweaty, close to tears, battling an oily t-zone that could probably fuel a diesel truck, and sporting at least three ambiguous stains on my sweatshirt from trying to drink a coffee and pull my carry-on simultaneously. Most days, I look like a completely different person.

I am not alone in this, thankfully. It seems like a whole bunch of us saw those passport makeup tutorials and went ham. And it turns out, my worst fear is possible: looking so much different from my cute passport picture that it actually causes an issue.

In a TikTok video posted over the weekend, creator @AlishaMarie exclaims "They almost didn't let me on my flight because they said I don't look like my passport." She then proceeds to warn against having "hot passport photos" and displays her passport photo. 

While I personally can totally tell that Alisha in her passport photo and Alisha in real life are the same (it’s obviously the bangs that are the biggest difference), I do fear that in the future this will happen to me and I won’t make it through security. Nevertheless, the video has resonated. It has gotten over 7.6 million views and 1 million likes.

So, let my anxiety and Alisha’s TikTok be a lesson for anyone who still hasn't gotten their passport renewed yet: make your hot passport photo a little less sexy. As long as you still look like you in the photo, your passport cannot be rejected. But still, I personally don't desire the deeply humbling "Wait this is you?” up down up down look from a TSA agent. I mean c'mon, they are already about to x-ray my underwear. And also, hurry up and get your passport application in! Processing times are only getting longer.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.