meet the kids who are redefining beauty for the next generation
From birthmarks to body hair, thanks to the leaders of Generation Z, anything can be beautiful.
Black vs. white, fat vs. thin, masculine vs. feminine - gone are the days when terms such as these were used to define what society thought of as beautiful. We live in the here and now, where anything is possible and where more and more kids are challenging the status quo and opening up the boundaries of beauty to include even your most loathed imperfections. Dimples, curls, scars, spots, disabilities, bumps, lumps, birthmarks, love handles, body hair, androgyny, curves, cellulite - in this day and age anything can be beautiful, and here are just a few of the people who have paved the way for this movement.
''I want to be the first trans woman to win an Academy Award.'' Hari Nef
Proving you don't have to conform to archaic notions of masculinity or femininity to be beautiful, Hari Nef is the New York artist turned actress who has been leading the transgender revolution, with every Frische cover and Hood by Air catwalk that comes her way.
''I do not like being referred to as a plus sized model. I am a model, and I don't need my job title to explain the dimensions of my body.'' Ashley Graham
As the saying goes: big is beautiful. But who are you calling big? Ashley Graham is a 'plus' sized model who has been campaigning for greater diversity on the catwalk ever since her underwear commercial got banned during the Superbowl, because of her weight. Fast-forward to today as she has signed to IMG, fronted Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue, and even launched her own lingerie line.
''Even if you're scared of the public seeing you, even when the world is against you, people who have that confidence and energy in them to keep going, no matter what, that's beautiful to me.'' Jillian Mercado
Jillian Mercado is the wheelchair-bound beauty with Spastic Muscular Dystrophy, who has been redefining the norms of beauty ever since she was handpicked to star in Nicola Formichetti's Diesel #Reboot campaign for spring/summer 14.
''The industry needs to open its doors to a more diverse group of people, not just in terms of size. Women (and men) of all races, shapes, sizes and ages deserve to be represented.'' Myla Dalbesio
Eenie, meanie in betweenie, when will the world stop using ridiculous terms to categorize women and their weight? Too large to be a normal model (she's a size 14! *gasp*) but too thin to be called 'plus' sized, for years Myla Dalbesio sat uncomfortably in a category labeled by industry people as ''in betweenie''. However, fast-forward to today, and Myla is currently one of the most talked about names in fashion, especially when she bagged a prestigious campaign for Calvin Klein.
''I don't aspire to look like anyone in particular. I just want to change my outside to reflect my soul, so feel like I fit more comfortably in my own skin.'' Grace Neutral
Pushing the boundaries of extreme beauty, Grace Neutral is the tattoo-covered alien princess with purple eyes, pointed elf ears, a forked-tongue, scarification and no bellybutton. Isn't she beautiful?
''I'm just being myself, and I'm happy with myself.'' Chantelle Winnie
It doesn't matter if you're black, white, or rainbow colored, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Which is something Canadian model Chantelle Winnie can identify with. Born with an autoimmune condition that causes partial depigmentation of the skin, the 20-year-old has been redefining the standards of beauty ever since she appeared on America's Next Top Model, after which she was shot by Nick Knight, and even invited to close the show for Ashish, last season.
''I want to exist and be recognized for my work and who I am, not only because of my hair or my skin color." Lineisy Montero
Although we've been seeing a lot more models of color and ethnicity bagging big campaigns and even bigger catwalks, they're still being subjected to same white standards of beauty that have always been upheld. That is, of course, except for new face Lineisy Montero who waltzed down the Prada autumn/winter 15 catwalk rocking her natural Afro hair amid a sea of 40 slick ponytails. More of this please!
Text Tish Weinstock