If you’re anything like us, you’ll have probably looked at a politician you hate, seen all that evil seeping out of their pores, and asked yourself one question: were they always like this?
Surely there was a point in time when Nigel Farage didn’t look like a salamander straining to will bones into the place where a neck was supposed to be. Surely Donald Trump didn’t always look like the villain from an eighties kids movie starring two or more actors called Corey.
So we did what any self-respecting publication would do. We put 10 politicians’ faces through FaceApp to see what they would look like as children. Pure, innocent children, innoculated from the societal evils which would grow to consume them.
Obviously we also imagined them as the opposite sex, and found out what they would look like with warm smiles on their faces. Because (a) we don’t see enough happy politicians around and (b) we wanted to see how many people in the office hate themselves for fancying girl Farage.
So, without further ado…
1. Theresa May
The smiling image of May doesn’t look the best, as if she’s looked at a diagram of a person smiling and tried to replicate it, but to focus on that would detract from the two images at the bottom.
Child May somehow looks more evil, like something out of Children of the Corn. You can picture her appearing before you out of nowhere and instantly disappearing into the ether. You think nothing of it at the time, but minutes later your limbs have turned to jelly and you can’t breathe. You try to cry out for help but only a muffled whimper arrives. In the corner of the room, Child May appears again, smiling and giving a knowing wink a la Cristiano Ronaldo at the 2006 World Cup. It is the last thing you see before you die.
The bottom-right image is what happened when we tried to see what May would look like as a man. Is there a deeper meaning to it, or did the app temporarily glitch? Not for us to say.
2. Jeremy Corbyn
Corbyn probably has the most natural smile of all the politicians in this article, which is strange for a man whose default look seems to be one of despair and frustration. We like to imagine this is what he’d look like if he quit politics and was able to see to his allotment in peace, out of the public eye at long last.
Child Corbyn is that one kid at your school who somehow had a beard aged nine. We’re not sure where he came from, he just showed up midway through the winter term one year, stroking at his chin and taking classes in Italian and astronomy. They didn’t even teach those things at your school.
Even Female Corbyn looks relaxed and at-ease, as if she’s just found a really great houseboat that gives her the opportunity she’s been waiting for: now she can finally quit her high-powered office job and live a life on the high seas.
3. Tim Farron
The first three of these look the same, which is weird. The fourth looks like Cersei Lannister, which is weirder.
4. Paul Nuttall
Look at teenage Nuttall there, dying his hair purple in an act of rebellion against his parents and retreating to his room to listen to The Buzzcocks and The Smiths and Depeche Mode. Wait, not Depeche Mode, it sounds too European. New Order. There – much better. Going to indie clubs and drinking cheap lager and watching arthouse films and...wait, that’s not his hair, that’s his scalp.
Girl Nuttall looks like she could still be a standing UKIP MP, albeit one who got into politics after setting up and running a successful second-hand car dealership rather than whatever it is that Nuttall did before joining the party.
5. Marine Le Pen
We might have our own election just around the corner, but France has one right now. With that in mind we decided to put the final two candidates through FaceApp, starting with Marine Le Pen.
Look at that warm smile on the top right, like someone releasing their own album of smooth jazz covers. It almost puts you at ease with...wait, is that blood coming out of Child Le Pen’s mouth? We know who her father was, but that doesn’t make this any less disturbing.
6. Emmanuel Macron
Le Pen’s opponent already looks about 15 years old, so we mixed it up to see what he would look like as an older gentleman. The result is, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘like every 60-year-old French man ever’.
Oh, and if it’s wrong to fancy Macron as a woman then we don’t want to be right.
7. Donald Trump
Given that Trump already looks a little bit like a child in an adult suit, or three infants stacked on top of each other in a trenchcoat, we were intrigued to see what this might produce. Anyone who had ‘haunted doll’ in the sweepstake is on to a winner, though no horror movie we could imagine would be as terrifying as day-to-day life under a Trump presidency has the capacity to be.
Weirdly, the trademark Trump hairstyle almost looks better on the character in the bottom-right, who looks like a nemesis of Lucille Bluth’s whose backstory wasn't interesting enough to earn her a regular slot on Arrested Development.
8. Barack Obama
For someone who we’ve actually seen smile naturally before, Obama’s grin seems weirdly forced, like a man who has finally got a table at The Fat Duck only to find out they’ve taken that bacon and egg ice cream off the menu.
Child Obama isn’t angry, he’s just disappointed. He knows he’s in for decade after decade of ice cream-based disappointment. As for Girl Obama? She looks like she’d make a great president too.
9. Boris Johnson
You know those Victorian children’s poetry books, where someone with a random assortment of letters in place of an actual human name writes about rosy-cheeked boys falling off swing sets or getting jam on their britches. They’re talking about Child Boris.
They’re definitely not talking about Girl Boris, who is essentially one of those nonsensical charity bets where someone puts on all the clothes they own at the same time, only with hair. We can’t rule out her having been in obscure 80s girl band Vixen (look them up), or in the original series of Gladiators.
10. Nigel Farage
It’s Freshers’ Week. You’re at a provincial university two hours drive from your family home. It is the furthest you have been from your parents since scout camp at the age of 11, but you’re putting a brave face on it all.
After a few £1.50 pints at the union you have gone back to your flat, where a guy you’ve never met before is playing Newton Faulkner covers on his acoustic guitar. You’re not sure how you know they’re Newton Faulkner covers, but you do know and that’s the only thing that’s important right now.
You head outside where your flatmate is smoking weed on a child’s swing. You sit on the patio steps metres away from him and strike up a conversation with a girl in an Iron Maiden t-shirt after she hands you a warm bottle of Carlsberg. You start chatting about where you come from – she went to school two towns over from you and knows some people whose names you recognise but can’t really place. It’s going well.
Five beers later and you’re still there. Still talking away. Your flatmate is back inside and you and the girl are huddled together for cover. You have lent her your school leavers’ hoodie to keep warm, and she’s resting her head on your shoulder.
There’s a moment of eerie silence as you both turn in to face the sunrise. You’ve been outside for four hours now. As the first specks of light trickle through the cloud she leans in for a kiss and OH GOD IT’S GIRL FARAGE.