This year was definitely one where the beauty standards began to shift. We saw more plus-sized models, a greater diversity in ethnicities, and a growing acceptance for such changes. While there is still a long ways to go, these models aided in the movement to diversify the modeling world.
Winnie Harlow has graced the pages of many magazines, starred in ads, walked the runway, and is now one of the most sought after models in the industry. Harlow suffers from vitiligo, a rare disease where patches of your skin loses pigment. Although, after much ridicule, Harlow beat the odds and created hope for all those with the disease and other conditions that make young girls feel different. Her look is so unique, so beautiful, and her modeling is groundbreaking. “Everyone can relate to being different. It’s not just me trying to be a role model. It’s my genuine opinion that it’s those quirks that make you gorgeous. Let whatever quirks you have shine.”
Iskra Lawrence is a plus-sized model and activist. She broke out in Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign which focused on untouched modeling. Now the voice for plus sized models everywhere, she’s showing that big is not bad. Likewise, she recently landed on the cover of Self Magazine. “Perfect doesn’t exist. We need to see real women’s bodies.”
Such an honour to be on the Jan cover of @selfmagazine thank you @joycemarg @rsinnkelly for believing in me and always encouraging us to be our healthiest and happiest selves. 👆LINK IN BIO👆 And you can all start 2017 with me & #TeamSELF by getting my FREE four-week workout and healthy eating plan when you sign up! 👆link up in my bio👆 Photography @kaizfeng styling @almudenagg Thanks to my family @jagmodels & @models_1uk for making this all possible. #NewYearsChallenge #iskralawrence #everyBODYisbeautiful
Additionally, Diandra Forrest is an African American model who suffers from albinism. Albinism is a rare disease where the skin and hair lose pigment. Moreover, Forrest was the first albino model to sign to a major modeling agency and now is a commonality on the runway. Additionally, she stars in many ad campaigns including MAC, Vivienne Westwood, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Furthermore, she explains how she sees her albinism as a strength. “People with albinism have been portrayed as something supernatural or odd or freakish looking and I love that we are being seen in a different light.”
Finally, often dubbed at the “melanin goddess,” Khoudia Diop is a model like no other. Her dark skin color, almost blue-hued, makes her unique, but it wasn’t always something she was proud of. As a teenager, she was bullied for her dark skin tone. As she grew, she realized it was her skin that made her so unique and harnessed it. Now she advocates for different colored models, and uses #melaninpoppin and #blackgirlmagic to empower others. She explains how she chose her nickname. “[I gave myself the nickname] because of my dark, melanin-rich complexion, and because I want to inspire young girls and let them know that we are all goddesses inside and out. The message I have for my sisters is that how you look doesn’t matter as long as you feel beautiful inside.”