We get that you get it, but we’re gonna say it again anyway: Beauty is not just one thing. It’s a zillion different looks and styles and identities and kind of impossible to pin down. So let’s celebrate all of it, starting with some real talk from these truly inspiring humans. They’re part of Project #ShowUs—a genius initiative from Dove, Girlgaze, and Getty Images that celebrates women who break beauty stereotypes and helps get their faces into the pages and sites of magazines like ours (hi!). Here’s what they had to say when we chatted on set.
To see more images of women who are redefining beauty on their own terms, check out Dove.com/ShowUs.
On Identity and Style
“In the Spanish language, there is no word for ‘queer.’ So when I finally got close to that word and its meaning in English, it really influenced my style. I love playing around and not trying to fit into any beauty norms, whether that means experimenting with different eyeliners and lipsticks or printed head wraps.”
On the importance of self-expression
“Your hair, makeup, accessories—it’s a political thing. When you are feeling comfortable with yourself and go out into the world and off how you look and feel? To be a woman, to be queer, to be proud of yourself and show it? That’s a political act.”
“I’m a trans woman, and before I transitioned, I would look in the mirror and be like, I don’t know this person. Now, I actually feel like I’m seeing myself. For me, though, the concept of beauty is more of a mindset. I love myself; my wife loves me. Knowing that makes me feel beautiful.”
On doing “me”
“Society likes to tell us these are things you have to have, you have to be, you have to do. And I’m just like, no, I’m me. There are women all over the place, who have their own struggles, their own differences. They don’t fit the norms and that’s okay.”
On the Power of Images
“It’s rare to see a black woman in media. But a chubby, queer black woman in media? I don’t see it at all. I want other women to be able to see themselves in me, so I always try to present the way I feel. When that’s more feminine, I’ll put on more makeup. Other days, I don’t wear any at all.”
On not fitting to anyone’s boxes
“When you’re a bit heavier set, people try to put you in curve-accentuating clothes. It’s like if you’re going to be chubby, you also have to be very sexy and very feminine and all this stuff. And I just don’t want to do that. For me, it’s been a journey trying to figure out how I want to work my hair, makeup, clothing, and accessories, and I’ve sort of gone for an androgynous look. I feel most beautiful when I’m in baggy pants, but a tight shirt.”
Photographs by Allie Holloway. Styled by Cassie Anderson. Video by Jon + Erin Cortizo. Hair and makeup by Mary Guthrie using KÉRASTASE for hair and BECCA Cosmetics for makeup. Manicures by Julie Kandalec at Bryan Bantry Agency.