Not-so-regular looking models defy traditional standards of beauty

Not-so-regular looking models defy traditional standards of beauty
PHOTO: Screengrab/Instagram

Luscious hair, big eyes, tall stature, long limbs, pursed lips - these conventional features are what we've always laced our notions of beauty with.

Fortunately, our definition of beauty has expanded in the past few decades.

We are now more accepting of our rounded figures, embracing both the ferocity of angular jaws whilst simultaneously admiring the strong sassy lines that walk across runways.

But there is still more the worshipped phrase 'beauty' can encompass.

Take these women, for example. They are struck with various genetic conditions but still manage to make it as models, against the odds.

They are making a statement about beauty - a statement that beauty isn't incarcerated behind a few contained traits, but rather is exploratory, diverse and confident.

Melanie Gaydos

According to The Independent, Melanie Gaydos is one of the few revolutionary models travelling against the tide of the fashion industry.

She's born with both ectodermal dysplasia - a condition where pores, teeth, nails and small bones form abnormally - and alopecia - making her partially blind from eyelash growth that scratched her eyes as a child.

Gaydos' made her mark in the fashion industry after responding to an advert on Craigslist looking for "unique people" for fashion photographers to shoot.

"I have definitely become more confident with who I am and myself. I stopped wearing wigs and started modelling. In a way, I was forcing myself to learn more about who I was and to become more comfortable with who I am at my core and natural state of being. This whole process has helped me become more confident, stronger and happier in my existence," she said in The Independent report.

Winnie Harlow

Another model triumphant in changing the course of the fashion industry is Chantelle Young-Brown, professionally known as Winnie Harlow.

The young Canadian, who first appeared on Cycle 21 of America's Next Top Model, sparked conversation for her chronic skin condition vitiligo, in which irregular white patches adorn her skin's complexion.

Photo: Reuters

Although marred with the doubt that clung to her skin, she shed the abuse of her past embedded by childhood bullies as she began to understand that difference, while sometimes uncomfortable, is not a negative.

Many are resistant to change because we're too stubborn to change the intertwining wires that make up our stable schemas. But that stability also obstructs malleability towards change.

Caitin Stickels

29-year-old Caitin Stickels is one who truly pushes for this change. She is a model, actress, and singer who was born with Schmid-Fraccaro syndrome, also known as cat eye syndrome.

According to Cosmopolitan, cat eye syndrome is an unusual chromosomal disorder that causes facial disfigurements such as an absence of tissue from the coloured part of the eyes, creating a cat-like appearance.

She uses her difference as a strength, staring at us through the camera with her beady eyes and fervent expression as her lips part innocently, revealing her wide front teeth, divulging the essence of her.

Her modelling is both fierce and passionate as she poses in her shoot with Nick Knight at SHOWstudio for V Magazine.

She grabs intensely at her right arm with her left hand, knuckles worn but fingers relaxed, as her head nestles against her shoulder as she closes her eyes in a state of sensual comfort.

These models' careers have not only impacted their individual confidence into accepting their idiosyncrasies but also have planted seeds of change within the modelling world, of which while the fashion industry is becoming increasingly inclusive, the process is only slowly inching towards that acceptance.

tarinis@sph.com.sg

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