What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘model’, or specifically a ‘fashion model’? Well, a tall woman with skinny legs, a perfectly proportioned body, and beautiful locks of hair. Topping with spot-free skin and sharp features, perfect eyes, and nose. But fashion is not about these ‘sugar coated’ implications set by the society of being a model. It is about what resides within, the inner beauty.
We set beauty standards and features that ‘define’ what is beautiful. Stereotyping our way through a ‘to be’ lifestyle, our self-worth is also being decided by society. Now is the time to take body positive initiatives and learn that real beauty comes from within. Knowing that self-esteem never held hands with appearance, the concept of ‘perfection’ should cease to exist. Being fair does not make anyone more beautiful, nor does being slim. All skin tones are attractive in their way and all body types are beautiful.
It is necessary to fight these stereotypical standards of beauty which go to the extent of models starving themselves to fit in the mold and eat greens as a main.
It is high time to call off these stereotypes. Many personalities around the world have broken the bars of these set standard stereotypes and paved their way to a more open-minded fashion. A world with people who do not define standards, break the convention to be inclusive and accept each other, as well as accept themselves too.
Mona Varonica Campbell
Mona Varonica Campbell is known to break several stereotypes all at once. She is the first plus-size model in India. She faced a lot of rejections in auditions and got discriminated. Mona faced a lot of backlash during her journey. But she never let anything bother her, and was fully confident in herself. She says, “I am confident about myself, my looks, and my body. I love how unique my body is. I am bold, and I will break all stereotypes attached to our community,” she says.
Winnie Harlow, a Canadian fashion model rose to the spotlight after participating in ‘America’s Next Top Model’. She suffers from a rare skin condition called vitiligo, which causes depigmentation in some parts of the skin. She broke the barrier of ‘perfect skin’ and began to appear in fashion magazine covers, music videos, and catwalks.
Anjali Lama is the first transgender model to walk at the Lakmé Fashion Week ramp. Being rejected for being a ‘manly woman’, she is now a proud woman who paved her own way into this industry. Consequently, smashing the stereotype of ‘gender’ playing a huge role in fashion, she discovered herself, learned her rights, and fought a lone fight.
“When you can’t accept yourself, how can you expect others to accept you? Get rid of the closed structures of gender and sexuality and thrive being real,” she states.
Zinnia Kumar is a published scientist and a fashion model who was born in Sydney. She faced constant blows from Bollywood, Hollywood, and TV, that she is not ‘attractive’. She hence started to believe the stereotype set that ‘nerds’ are not pretty or pretty women are stupid and smart ones are ugly. Stating that she only knew maths and science and having social anxiety, she felt inadequate. With the idea of society portraying intelligent women as plain, she grew even more self-conscious. But she slowly understood what beauty really is and hence carved her own way and defined beauty. And hence set a path-breaking all the stereotypes and show beauty resides in the person.
Maybelline, a popular cosmetics brand has broken the frozen set mold by choosing a male model, Manny Gutierrez, as the face of their brand. Manny Gutierrez is a beauty vlogger, make-up artist, and YouTuber. He says “don’t be discouraged by anyone, as long as you’re confident in yourself and just keep doing what you’re doing.” as he often deals with homophobia.
Naaz Joshi is the first transgender International beauty queen. She not only is a model but a motivational speaker and trans activist. She has won the title of Miss World Diversity for three consecutive years and is the first Indian transgender to be a cover model.
Alexandra Kutas is the first wheelchair-bound model, who made her debut in the India Runway Week held in October 2017. “If as a person with disabilities, you want to be a model, obviously you need to work out and take care of your skin. But more importantly, you need to have willpower and confidence,” she suggests as a person wheelchaired since birth.
Ellie Goldstein is the first model with Down Syndrome who starred in a Beauty ad campaign by Gucci. Her photoshoot gained a lot of support and positivity from all over the world. Popular leading brands like Vodafone and Nike have also featured her in various campaigns.
Dwarf Fashion Show, 2014
Four feet models were starred in an International Dwarf Fashion Show which was held in Dubai in 2014. It passed on a message, that a fashion model does not need to be tall and slender to enter the modeling industry, and hence breaking stereotypes as the light shines on the ramp.
Charity ActionAid launched a ‘Survivors Runway’ in 2017, showcasing some of the brave acid attack survivors. With smoldered skin, they hence tell us to value our inner beauty and have pride in our minds.
Along with being a body positivity influencer, Sumedha Sailan is also an actor, dancer, and model. She was the first runner-up of the Mrs and Miss Curvy Queen 2017. She is working to bring attention of the world towards Plus-sized models and proving that models can be of all sizes and everyone is beautiful.
In the same way, any women have taken part in the ‘Kashmir Fashion Show’, which was organized in Srinagar to break the stereotypes regarding female modeling.
With thousands of people setting examples, it is no shock that the modeling and fashion industry is constantly breaking all the stereotypes and setting better standards. It is important to accept who you are and love yourself no matter what the world points at you. We all should treat people wholly and not based on some set standards. No matter who you are, you are fearless, you are beautiful.