For many centuries, the ideals of female and male beauty have been changing, and certain types of figures, face shapes, eye color, and hair color were considered the beauty standard. But at the same time, symmetry, even skin texture and skin tone, and the absence of any defects were always appreciated. We currently live in an interesting time — where it seems like the ideals of beauty have ceased to exist at all.
We at Enlighten believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Today, we want to show you people who probably couldn’t work in the modeling industry 20 years ago, but now, they make millions of people more confident with their unusual appearance.
1. Sarah Taylor
Since childhood, Sarah Taylor has gotten used to the fact that people ruefully look at her birthmark. Deep down, she began to think that a person with a birthmark on their face can’t be beautiful. In college, Sarah met a girl who inspired her to be herself and began posting her unedited photos on Instagram, it was then that her account went viral.
2. Maeva Giani Marshall
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The French model, Maeva Marshall, had several health problems — she had a stroke and kidney disease. She was then forced to take medicine that made her skin hypersensitive to the sun. As a result, freckles that were so bright that some people didn’t believe they were real.
However, this “flaw” brought her fame and paved the way for her to the main runway shows of the world. Maeva says: “I have freckles, I have a story, but I don’t want it to make me — because I’ve already made myself.”
3. Scarlett Costello
“I’m a big believer in the idea that everyone looks their best, the way their genes intended them to. The confidence of embracing natural beauty is what makes it great,” Scarlett says. She stopped plucking the hairs between her eyebrows and shaving her armpits at the age of 15.
Spiteful critics have called her an ogre and a pretentious feminist, but this didn’t prevent her from becoming a successful model and an Instagram influencer.
4. Armand Puszta
By the age of 20, this Hungarian guy has conquered fashion shows around the world. He participates in photoshoots for fashion magazines and signs advertising contracts that are worth millions, although you can’t call him a canonically handsome guy. His long, cheeky face and lean physique are far from the universally recognized ideals of male attractiveness.
Reflecting on why he was once chosen at a casting, Armand says, “Appearance isn’t as important as the impression you make. The main thing is to hook these people with something and to be remembered among the others.” He’s definitely succeeded at that.
5. Dustin Bice
Bice, as he prefers to call himself, has no eyelashes, no eyebrows, and no hair on his head, although he had a head full of dark hair until he was 3 years old. But because of his illness (alopecia areata), he became completely bald.
“Many people with alopecia struggle, but I don’t. People ask how I deal with it. I just do. What about someone who has HIV, or diabetes, or is missing all their limbs?” Bice says, and then adds, “I grew up around so many people who were trying to look different. Piercings, tattoos, the way they do their hair. I just was different. Whether I want it or not, I’m going to get attention.”
6. Ariel Pierre Louis
Ariel says that before working as a model, she had problems with the perception of her own body. And the beginning of her career as a plus-size model wasn’t simple. Ariel sent applications to various agencies, but many of them refused to work with her, which led her to depression and anxiety disorders. Ariel was constantly comparing herself with others and was afraid to not “fit in.”
Her path to self-acceptance began with the removal of all toxic people from her life. Soon, she realized that she wasn’t obliged to please everyone and that the main thing was that she liked herself.
7. Zach Miko
Hanna Lassen / GettyImages
The fashion industry started to accept plus-size women a relatively short time ago, but there are still very few plus-size male models. Zach Miko takes part in photoshoots for fashion magazines and participates in fashion shows, and he gets messages in his Instagram account, not only from adoring fans, but also from men who are inspired by his example.
But there was a time when Zach hated his body. At school, he would wear his father’s clothes, his classmates would make fun of him, and girls refused to go dancing with him, being afraid that he’d step on their feet. “I don’t remember when I learned that being big was a bad thing, but as a kid, that’s what I thought,” Zach says. Despite the fact that his wife repeatedly says that she considers his body to be perfect, Zach Miko was able to finally truly believe in himself when he entered the modeling business.
8. Javiera Quintana Del Pozo
The American model, of Chilean descent, claims “to be the only one who loves their body in a world where everyone hates it.” She has a body-positive Instagram account (203k followers) and a YouTube channel, where she is not shy about filming herself in candid outfits, and she doesn’t pay attention to haters.
In one of her posts, Javi admitted that in her teenage years, she didn’t like to be photographed and wore loose clothes, because she was shy about her tummy and the fat on her back. But in the end, she realized that she inherited her figure from her mother and her grandmother and that she should be proud of it. With the help of clothes and accessories, Javiera has learned to accentuate the advantages of her body, and now, she can wear anything.
9. Anna Rubin
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Anna Rubin is from Denmark. Her body proportions (29″-24″-35″), facial features, thick eyebrows, and her buzz cut give her a bit of masculine look. In the days of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, a woman with this appearance would hardly have reached the success that she has in the modeling business, but now androgyny is in trend again.
Experts note that the line between female and male models is getting blurred. At times, the audience at a fashion show may find it difficult to understand who is on the runway. Androgynous fashion erases the distinction between the sexes — men can wear skirts like, for example, Jaden Smith and Mick Jagger, and women, if they want to, can wear boxer shorts.
10. Lainey Chang
Laney Chang is an albino model. When Laney was a child, she was told to wear headgear in order to correct her overbite and “become pretty.” But she refused, and she subsequently refused to wear contact lenses and dye her hair.
According to one of her Instagram posts, one does not need to be anything other than the beautiful human being they are on the inside.
11. Chelsea Werner
Chelsea Werner was born with Down Syndrome. She couldn’t walk until she was 2 years old, and the doctors said that she had low muscle tone and that this problem would stay with her for her whole life. Despite this, her parents enrolled her in a gymnastics class. She trained just like ordinary athletes did, spending 16 hours a week in the gym, and was able to become a 4-time US champion in gymnastics, among people with intellectual disabilities and a 2-time world champion.
But for Chelsea this wasn’t enough, so she decided to see if she could be successful in the modeling business and she succeeded. She started with photoshoots for H&M and, soon, she stepped on the runway at New York Fashion Week. In addition, Chelsea’s photos have repeatedly adorned magazine covers and she receives thousands of thank you messages from children with Down Syndrome and their parents on her social media.
12. Aimee Mullins