The saying may go that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but for so long only a slim cache of people have been able to fit into the standards that society considered as beauty especially for models.
All that is changing due to a number of factors and the models that will be featured in this article have definitely been a part of those changes. Being themselves and being beautiful they have challenged the narrow definitions of beauty that the world has held on to for so long.
Here are the models that are expanding worldviews on beauty;
Diandra Forrest is an African American with naturally blonde hair, fair skin and green eyes and one of the most well-known albino models in the world. She was bullied as a child and finally had to move to the New York Institute For Special Education, where she mixed with other people with albinism.
As she got older, however, she gained the attention of the modeling world and signed with Elite Models NY becoming the first albino model to ever sign with a major modeling agency
She has since worked with MAC, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood. She also stands as a spokesperson for other albino black people, especially, after learning of the dangers they face in places like East Africa.
Chantelle Brown-Young who is also known as Winnie Harlow is a Canadian beauty who lives with vitiligo. Vitiligo causes depigmentation to parts of the skin. After Winnie Harlow appeared on America’s Next Top Model’s 21st cycle, she landed Desigual’s fall campaign as well as gigs for SHOWstudio.
She was born in Sudan, raised in refugee camps in Ethiopia and then emigrated to the US aged 10 with help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Now a successful model who has modeled for top brands like Vivienne Westwood, and Louis Vuitton.
She has admitted in the past that “I’ve had challenges finding work in some countries because black models weren’t in season at that time, my hair and finding makeup to match my complexion have been the most difficult.”
Carmen Dell’Orfice is probably the oldest working model. Now 85, she has had a long career; appearing on the cover of Vogue when she was just 15 years-old. Her career did not fizzle out as she got older. She continues to do campaigns for Target and Rolex and has appeared in the pages of Vogue, W, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Tara Lynn is a beautiful plus-size model. She walked into a modeling agency in Seattle on a whim and got signed on the spot. By 2010, she was on the cover of Italian Vogue a very big deal where most plus size models hardly get editorial work in style magazines.
Brunette Moffy suffers from a condition called strabismus which is also known as crossed eyes. She was initially recommended to the editor of cult magazine POP and after she appeared on the cover she was signed by Storm management.
Speaking of her crossed eyes in the past she said;
“Although I sometimes found it difficult when I was young, when I was old enough to make the decision about whether to have my eye fixed or not I realized that if I did so I would feel that I was being untrue to myself and if I can manage to use something which I previously saw as an affliction as a medium to make other people feel that it’s permissible to embrace their ‘flaws’ then that’s a wonderful thing and I am very flattered that people are seeing it that way.”
Maria Borges had a historic outing in 2015 when she stepped onto the runway at Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show with a short afro. It had been her third appearance on the show but the first time black ‘natural’ hair would appear in its 20 year run.
Melanie Gaydos is one of the most unique models in the world. She has a condition called ectodermal dysplasia, a wide term that includes varying conditions of skin, hair, nail, and teeth defects and she has undergone over 30-40 surgeries as a young woman.
She initially sent a photographer an email and was then invited to sit for him. After that, she began getting many modeling gigs. She has said that things aren’t easy for her in the fashion industry but that won’t stop her from fulfilling her dream.
Jillian Mercado was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child which put her in a wheelchair when she was 12 years old. She has appeared posing for Beyonce’s new fashion collection and she is now walking international ramps.
Alex Minsky is a former Marine who lost his leg in an explosion while deployed in Afghanistan and now lives to challenge what it means to have a “perfect body.” He has been featured in GQ and a campaign for the latest Hunger Games movie and is also the brand ambassador for athletic brand LiveFit.
He lived with the fear that he would have to live as a vegetable due to brain injuries and he at first sunk into an alcohol-fueled depression. He soon went to rehab and got sober. He hit the gym to keep himself occupied after rehab and was discovered by a photographer while working out.