While our eyes always tend to appreciate what looks better outside, it is our inner-beauty that stands out. Generally, fashion magazines show us airbrushed, ultra-slim amd photoshopped models wearing the latest trends from the runway.
For its November ‘Beauty’ issue, Cosmopolitan India did break the taboo and featured 11 women highlighting the obsolete beauty, which the world would call “imperfections”, but it couldn’t be more astonishing. The magazine embraces real life heroes, the ones who are beautiful and inspirational and are shot by celebrity photographer Ashish Shah.
“The thought behind this particular story is to embrace beauty in a truly pure form, as a contrast to a world rife with retouching, correction and Photoshop,” Samar Rajput, stylist at Cosmopolitan India, told BuzzFeed.
Abhina Aher, transgender activist – “Trans women in this country have been subject to all kinds of harassment, treated like objects and thrown away. When you have that struggle inherently ingrained in you, beauty takes on a whole new power dynamic. Looking beautiful physically always picks me up.”
Reeyaa Nair, model – “My parents raised me to battle the traditional archetypes of beauty (you know, that dark-skinned women aren’t beautiful, and all that). Every fairness cream ad is a testament to this awful mindset. I think my colour isn’t a hindrance, and it gives me pleasure to stand up for women of colour all around the world.”
Dessidre Fleming, writer – “I love how I look when I smile, how one-of-a-kind it is — I’ve always loved how I look, and I accentuate as many of my features every single day as I possibly can. It’s very easy to get down about the way you look, but as long as you develop a wall, you’re golden.”
Ardahun Pinky Passah, entrepreneur – “I’ve always been the most jealous of people who don’t give a sh*t. I was a kid covered in issues — too skinny, too short, brows too thick, forehead too big. The most upsetting? The gap in my teeth! I chose to fix it at age 28. It taught me that you’re never too old to look the way you want!”
Kayaan Contractor, blogger- “I’ve never tried to hide anything about my body, or my face, and that sense of total comfort about who I am has bred the confidence I have today. In my opinion, it’s a perfect, calibrated equipoise between self-confidence and humility that makes someone beautiful.”
Sobhita Dhulipala, actress – “I grew up with a truly miserable sense of self-esteem. Indians have an undeniable fairness fetish. The body image ‘ideal’ we hold as the gold standard doesn’t help either. I think the idea of beauty is something we can teach. If we create an environment where confidence reigns supreme, we won’t to have to seek validation ever again.”
Teesta Dalvi, model – “I’ve always hated my left profile. I went through a pre-pubescent phase of rabbit teeth and frizzy AF hair. I think feeling beautiful came with realising that my teeth and hair set me apart. I don’t think ‘generic’ is ever really ‘beautiful’.”
Justine Rae Mellocastro, celebrity hairstylist – “I feel like I’ve really made my peace with the way I look — the same scars I doused with make-up are now things I show off proudly — I feel like they add character. Also, looking good is so in your power. Hate your hair? Cut it! Not happy with your body? Style it well! If you don’t think you were born beautiful, become it!”
Priyanka Bose, film actress – “As a child, I was a big girl — incredibly boyish. In my head, I’m still that big girl — I dress for it. All my life, I’ve just wanted to be fit, and to be noticed for my inner wildness. If you’re not confident, act like it.”
Nishat Fatima, photographer – “People always notice my hair first and I don’t deny I’ve tried to make it look its best. My nose is something people bring up too, because I’ve met so many people fixated on noses. I don’t like to think about the way I look — I always think of it with the same detachment as I think of the way other people look.”
Tania Fadte, stylist and designer – “As a teenager, I was so flustered by my birthmark. People would shoot strange glances at it, and ask if I had ‘dirt stuck between my legs’. I spent a lot of my adolescence trying to camouflage it. It wasn’t glamorous or arresting, but it was ‘me’ regardless.”
Here’s charting some similar campaigns that had truly opened our eyes in the past:
A few days back, many Hollywood celebs and regular women had embraced their #NoMakeup look online.
— Kate Sammon (@k8salmon) June 6, 2016
Similarly, Now 11 years old, Dove’s Real Women campaign “Beyond Compare: Women Photographers On Real Beauty,” is celebrating the work of 67 female photographers and to give answers to the quest to understand how women think about beauty. The main focus was to boost body diversity making it into the mainstream.
In 2011, Boots No7 launched a campaign that promoted airbrushing or retouching free images. Two years later, the brand began featuring non-models. Last year, it started a campaign to spread the message that women use cosmetics to bring out how they’re feeling, not to cover themselves up. All seven women featured in the campaign have been ‘street cast’ and none of their images have been retouched.
Clearly, brands and the world are waking up to the fact that women want to see bodies and faces they can relate to.
Feature Image Credit: Cosmopolitan India
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