Model touted to have 'planet's most perfect face'

Is it possible to find the planet's most perfect face, especially among an estimated 7 billion people?

Apparently it is - US Elle magazine has singled out the beauty behind this mighty title in its January issue.

It belongs to up-and-coming Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls, who at 25, has an impressive list of achievements to her name.

The Elle article also praised the rising star for her "flawless, unequivocal beauty", one that is "specific enough to induce deja vu but universal enough to avert pigeonholing".

Interestingly, the claim has been refuted by two experts - Mr Gary Meisner, who developed the PhiMatrix Golden Ratio Design and Analysis software, and human attractiveness researcher-lecturer Steven Marquardt.

The Golden Ratio forms the basis for attractiveness in numerous things, including beauty.

"She has a lot of nice features where she conforms to the Golden Ratio, and that gives her beauty," Mr Meisner had told Los Angeles Times.

Mr Marquardt disagreed that Smalls possessed the "perfect face", pointing to an ever-so-slight lack of symmetry in her nose and chin, one of the long-standing notions of facial beauty.

"She has great cheeks, beautiful eyes and beautiful brows," he acknowledged.

Whether she measures up to the Golden Ratio, Smalls is working towards becoming the industry's golden girl.

The 1.79m-tall Brooklyn-based model is ranked tops in a Models.com Top 50 list, based on "daily call sheets of top photographers, steady bookings of editorial giants and powerhouse brands".

Last year, she became the first Latin face of an Estee Lauder campaign, and was No. 8 on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid models, pulling in US$3.5 million (S$4.5 million).

You might also recognise her from Beyonce's provocative video for Yonce, with fellow models Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn.

 

Since she started out at 19, she has risen from being a department store catalogue model to walking runways in Paris, London and Milan, as well as fronting campaigns for Gucci, Fendi and Givenchy, among others.

Earlier in her career, her skin colour posed an issue but today, she is highly sought after and it is something Smalls continues to fight for.

Smalls told Elle that once a casting agent thought she was "great", but needed to straighten her teeth, a fact she questioned.

He later told her: "Joan, those models are Caucasian, and you're not. You're a black model. And it's already a challenge."

BREAK BARRIERS

Others had told her there was only room for "one girl of colour".

"I just want to continue to break barriers and to show the industry and the world that beauty is diverse, and you don't have to be a certain stereotype to be beautiful," she had told CNN in 2012.

Smalls has what it takes to be successful in this cut-throat industry - beauty, intelligence and sheer grit.

Estee Lauder's global creative director Richard Ferretti said: "The word 'supermodel' is overused, but if there's any woman of our generation who deserves the title, it's Joan.

"She can go from looking girl-next-door to superchic-tough-strong - and she is all of that."

In a feature for luxury shopping site Net-a-Porter, Smalls said: "I think of myself as an empire. I am super-ambitious, but also believe in superstition, so I never show all my cards.

"It is about being associated with luxury brands, being in fragrance and cosmetic campaigns, or creating your own line of whatever it may be, so people associate your name with something, rather than what you are just the face of.


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