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Beauty Standards Do Not Have Checkboxes (According to Glamour’s April Cover Models)

Beauty Standards Do Not Have Checkboxes (According to Glamour’s April Cover Models)

Aja Naomi King. Camila Cabello. Elle Fanning. What do these three young women have in common? Aside from making names for themselves in entertainment as young successful women, they’re also going to be on the front cover of every copy of Glamour’s April 2018 Beauty Issue. We are pumped to see three very different but equally stunning women grace the cover of an established tastemaking publication and hear each of them candidly define beauty and explain how that has shifted over time.

For Elle, who has been in Hollywood since she was three, expressing her natural beauty in the spotlight has been more freeing than anything she experienced with her peers in school. Camila admitted that there was a time where wanted features other than her own until she able to realize that "part of beauty is accepting imperfections...[and] that perfect is boring." As a minority, Aja has had a complicated relationship with understanding and accepting her own beauty because of her inability to identify with the models of most ads while she was growing up.

She's learned to embrace her beauty by learning and maintaining that she doesn't "have to conform to anyone's idea of what blackness or beautiful is." It's Aja's feelings on representation playing a major role in how we define beauty that feels particularly relevant to us. She further continued:

When you’re growing up in [minority] communities, you begin to question whether you are beautiful. And when you see an image of yourself being reflected from a magazine or a commercial or show, and that person is being touted as beautiful, then you get to look at yourself and think, Oh, that means me too.
— Aja Naomi King

For Camila, diversity is only partially skintone, "When you look at the cover with me, Aja, and Elle, you see different body shapes, different skin tones, different backgrounds. It just shows you that beauty looks like everybody, you know.”

Regardless of what you look like, we all love to see women on covers of magazines that look like us because it reminds us that we too reflect the obscure definition of "beauty". But for women that do not meet conventional definitions of beauty this is a rare occurrence.  So we can't help but ask how long will it take for those women to grace magazine covers as our new societal norm? Generations of beautiful young women have grown up with a limited understanding of what beauty means for far too long and while we appreciate how far we’ve come, why did it take so long for us to get here and how long will it take us to get to where we need to go?  Camila thinks that, “Beauty is in the different things we all have. It’s not one kind of person, shape, one kind of anything.” Honestly, we couldn’t agree more. This idea of diversity in complexion, shapes and people being beautiful, is captivating the media’s attention and therefore pushing magazines and cosmetic industries to be more inclusive when deciding who to invite in their photoshoot or cater to in the next makeup line.

 As we admire Glamour’s cover of strong, well-spoken women this April, we can also remind ourselves that work still needs to be done in having more women of color represented in the media. We are on our way of redefining our understanding of beauty and Glamour is helping us celebrate just how beautiful it is to see diversity on a cover!

Be sure to read the full interview here.

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