By: Rachel Eydlish

You wake up in the morning, throw on a face full of makeup, put on clothes somebody else told you to wear, and stare mindlessly at the mirror in an effort to perfect an image that you hope satisfies those around you. In doing this, you are pained with resentment: any idea you had of yourself is lost and here you are basing your identity on the opinions of other people, people whom you will never know. Yet a part of you feels justified in being bitter as you fall victim to the delusional excuse that beauty standards have become irrevocably finite, claims of society manipulating natural beauty with superficiality, forcing you to look and be “perfect”.

But self-pity, my friend, is not exactly your shade.

Now, hold your head up high and stop crying because this advice is overdue. These standards are just that: standards, used to compensate for what you may lack. However, the only person with access to this lack is you and, by falling into the lie that you are not enough, you are proving that you are nothing special. A low self-esteem screams every time you step out beautifully dressed, staring down at the floor as you walk, readjusting your shirt every few minutes to make sure nobody sees your birthmark. Thereby, would you be much happier if you gave up the notion of others imposing beauty standards on you and, rather than mask it, embrace that deeper beauty that dwells in your imperfections?

Rather than feed your neuroses about what you lack, glorify your differences. Because each time you go to adjust your shirt, you are sending the message that what you are hiding underneath is hideous. But what is so wrong about your birthmark? Let it be seen as perhaps that birthmark is your very allure. By redefining beauty, those “standards” are dispelled, even refined to compete with your unwavering confidence.

Shaun Ross, model, pictured with Lana Del Rey.

Take Shaun Ross, a young Albino model, who coined the phrase “in my skin, I win” to inspire youth to be comfortable with their bodies despite any traits deemed “flawed”. Being Albino, his difference is clear, straying far from the norm, but that has not stopped him from landing in music videos of big names like Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, inspiring his own TEDxTalk, walking NY Fashion Week, or creating a name for himself by cultivating his individuality.

As Ross has stated previously, “It’s the DIY generation. Kids are becoming muses because they understand that what it takes to be successful is to be desirable and confident” (CNN). Confidence is key.

Akin Chantelle Brown-Young, a model with Vitiligo, a rare skin pigmentation disorder, who is making her debut on America’s Next Top Model’s current season and has been seen in music videos as well as on the runway (Daily Mail).

We are living in a time of change, a breaking away from passivity, and, in these times, everything is questioned. Especially those pillars on which we have stood for so long. And those who are staying put, clinging vigorously to tradition, are only succeeding in looking foolish. Because the truth is that nobody can predict what will work tomorrow or a month from now or a year or five years from now. The Shaun Rosses, the Chantelle Youngs, the beautiful among us have always been those who dared to push the status quo and, knowing full well their own worth, stopped allowing themselves to be victims.

Those who have the confidence to believe in their own voices are those who will go far. These are the people who do not get upset about the airbrushing of models or the apparent beauty standards because they have abundance. By redefining the standards, they no longer worry about what others are telling them to do because their awareness that others are only grasping at beauty is firm. For they know beauty, they know they have it, and, with that self-assuredness, they set the example in a time when everybody else is struggling.

Think big and redefine beauty. Who knows? Maybe that birthmark will have you gracing the cover of Vogue.