As I have noted in the past, one thing many celebrities share is an unusual level of visual appeal. They tend to be visually striking, to be memorable.
Now I have found a website that makes it possible to blend different celebrity faces together, and the results are intriguing. Morphthing provides a stable of celebrity headshots and gives you the ability to morph them together. Aside from the delicious irony of creating an Angelina/Jen hybrid, the resulting photos give me a sort of confused feeling.
Because celebrity faces are like brands: they are iconic. It looks weird to see traces of Jennifer Aniston lurking in an unknown face. The faces of celebrities are part of our subconscious cultural library.
Contrast this with the simpler experience of a site like Face Research, which I have frequently used with fascination, but with no resulting confusion.
Both tools can create faces of haunting attractiveness, but only with the celebrities does the result touch on our internalized cultural referents. It’s a sort of uncomfortable equilibrium: attractiveness (which is related to conforming to a cultural norm) is a great help to becoming a celebrity, but once you are a celebrity, your unique look becomes one of your most valuable assets.