When I was growing up, I struggled internally with feeling beautiful. Though I had/have an amazing mom who used to show me that I was a beautiful person inside and out, I couldn’t see it for myself.
Beauty has always been a strange thing–it’s a physical manifestation but it’s also a feeling. Beautiful, to me, is like an emotion. Some days you feel it, other days you don’t. Glamour Magazine’s latest issue featured a spread of 43 amazing women and men who are redefining the barriers and reshaping how we discuss beauty. I think it couldn’t be coming at a better time than now.
Along with beautiful photography (captured by the renowned world-class photographer Patrick Demelchier) each person had an accompanying story to tell, words of wisdom, and downright advice that even brought TheBlondeMisfit to tears.
Inevitably, we are all beautiful in our own unique way. Whether you’re modest and conservative, or outlandish and brass, we each possess a glow from within that radiates every time we choose to consciously shed love to others.
As a black girl who was heavily inspired by the strange, artsy fartsy type, I found that my voice always got muffled by my ego of beauty. I used to covet the idea of someone being beautiful, and to a degree, still have those moments today. No, I don’t wish I was anybody else or that I looked like anyone other than me. However, sometimes we allow things like doubt, and fear, and whatever else to creep into our heads, convincing us that we aren’t worthy of the title as “beautiful”. Well, that’s all a bunch of junk. We are all beautiful as we are, unapologetically bad-ass and misfitish in all the best ways.
Yara Shahidi told Glamour, “I feel like it’s no big surprise to anybody that traditional beauty standards are very Eurocentric, which do not reflect nearly the majority of our society. So rather than trying to base them off one type of person, it’s about redefining them by not defining them. If there’s a definition of what it means to be beautiful, that means there’s a definition of what it means to not be beautiful.”
The beautiful Paloma Elsesser said, “I’d tell myself, “You’re going to be OK.” My beauty identity when I was younger was still driven by only what I saw and what I thought I was supposed to be doing. I just did what my peers were doing most of the time, even though they were a lot of thin Caucasian girls. In middle school, all you want to do is fit in. I just didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I knew I didn’t look the same, but I would tell myself, You are going to figure this out. And I slowly did.”
Diandra Forrest, the well-known albino model, even opened up on her albinism: “It took years. I think if I was more educated on it when I was younger, I would have felt more comfortable talking about it. All I knew is that I had white skin. Then I stopped caring and realized it’s not the only thing that I have to offer. I found other parts about myself that I love. I got more into sports, became a great athlete, and came into my personality. My albinism is a part of me—and it’s beautiful—but it’s not all of me.”
These women, and countless others, inspire us to be unapologetically ourselves. We are all beautiful however we come.
Read the entire stories of all these dynamic people over at Glamour’s page.