Embracing Imperfections: Celebrating Flaws as a Model
2 Comments • Uncategorized • By Melissa
Embracing imperfections is not as easy as it should be. Society and the culture of modelling would like us to believe that all models are perfect. They are presented as idealised, flawless individuals without a speck or mark on their perfectly sculptured bodies. But the truth is this isn’t only untrue, but it’s also a deeply troubling and problematic thing to believe.
There are over 30 million Instagram users here in the UK, with teens in particular preferring the app. These impressionable young people are bombarded with this “perfection is achievable” messaging hundreds of times a day. And when we naturally start comparing ourselves to this unrealistic perfection – and obviously falling short – this is when problems can arise with insecurities, self-esteem, confidence and even self-worth.
The idea that perfection is not only achievable but makes you a better or more successful person somehow is a damaging message, but one that in today’s world is more prevalent than ever.
Perfectionism may be seen as a positive, but research shows us that perfectionists are more prone to stress, anxiety and even depression; it can even result in self-harm.
So how do we ignore the messages, embrace our flaws and even use them to our advantage?
Discover all about embracing imperfections below.
Protecting Your Well-Being
Your well-being should be protected and consistently nurtured to maintain good overall mental health. But it’s not easy to stay positive and keep the bad thoughts out when we are constantly bombarded with negative messages.
There are many ways to protect your mental health, but taking time away from social media is a great place to start. Many people now pencil in time away from their phones and laptops. In a world that heavily uses technology, we’ve become accustomed to having 24/7 access to the world around us – both the good and the bad. This means we are over-saturated with imagery that doesn’t translate to real life. We all know that Instagram isn’t real, that pictures are heavily posed and usually edited – but that doesn’t stop us from comparing our own lives and looks to the never-ending stream of perfected photos we see daily.
Take an hour a day away from your phone, or even a whole weekend – you know what works best for you. Remember to spend time away from social media and make meaningful connections in real life. This will help keep your head on straight and prevent the unrealistic standards on social media to bleed too heavily into your everyday life.
You may even want to unfollow accounts that consistently make you feel bad about yourself. Instead, try focusing on body positive accounts, or inclusive brands. Surround yourself with more realistic imagery.
Take Time For You
Sometimes, we need to carve self-care into our schedules as much as we do work, working out, or socialising. Self-care looks different to everyone, but it’s about doing whatever you need to do in order to feel like a calm, centred version of yourself. You may like sitting in a peaceful place to read your favourite book, or perhaps you like taking long, luxurious soaks in the bath. Maybe you like a good sweaty gym session, or an extra hour of sleep on a Sunda morning. Maybe you like to go for a walk, or a swim, or you like to spend the day at the spa, or having a quiet coffee at your favourite cafe… you get the idea. Discover what works to de-stress you, and be sure to make time for it.
Positive affirmations can help some people remain positive in the face of adversity. It is often human nature to think negatively about ourselves and our inadequacies, but this can lead us away from self-acceptance. Positive affirmations are a way of turning these negative thoughts into positive ones. Often, this way of thinking can help us rethink our worthiness and gives us an easy, achievable way to adopt self-love into our daily lives.
This one is more easily said than done, but it’s an important one. Something that you may fixate on and hate may be another person’s dream – remember, beauty is subjective! If you have a specific thing about yourself that you hate, take a look at some of the top supermodels and notice how they took their unusual, unique or even imperfect traits and made them a selling point. There are plenty of examples:
- Lara Stone has a tooth gap
- Kylie Jenner has a thigh scar
- Iman has a long neck she claims to have been teased for in her youth
- Brunette Moffy is cross-eyed
- Adwoa Aboah has freckles
- Tyra Banks has a large forehead
- Cindy Crawford has a mole (aka a beauty spot)
- Winnie Harlow has vitiligo
- Padma Lakshmi with her large scar on her arm that she’s never tried to hide
… and there are plenty more examples. It just goes to show that nothing is truly off-limits;
Can’t Learn to Love Your Flaw? You’re Not Alone!
Remember, even if you have got something you genuinely can’t learn to love, it likely won’t stop you from achieving everything you want in life. Just look at Cara Delevingne with her psoriasis, Naomi Campbell with her traction alopecia (a form of hair loss from wearing weaves or other tight hairstyles), Kendall Jenner with her acne, and Joanna Krupa with her polymastia. Despite these “flaws’“, each model has not allowed their “flaw” to get in the way of their success. Each model has been incredibly successful in her own right, despite the fact they are not perfect.
No one is perfect – not even supermodels and celebrities. We all suffer from flaws, imperfections and conditions that may make us feel less than perfect. But we are not made of plastic; we are living, breathing humans – and we must give ourselves some slack and be kind to ourselves. The modelling industry may have high standards and may demand as close to perfection as possible, but there will always be limitations to what we humans are capable of physically. Part of having a healthy mindset is understanding those limits and not allowing ourselves to get stressed or even sick trying to achieve the impossible.
Which leads us onto our next point…
Remember That Trends Come and Go
Did you hate your freckles as a youth and get teased for them? Have you noticed how they’re such a big trend today that people are getting them tattooed on?
Or what about big foreheads. You may have been mocked in the past, but now people get threading to lift their foreheads to appear higher.
Or how about your naturally near-invisible eyebrows. You may have spent years tinting them or drawing them on with make-up – but there are those who bleach them to make theirs appear smaller or even completely gone.
Whatever your “flaw” or “quirk”, you can bet that someone else in the world would absolutely love to have it. Beauty trends can depend on your age, location and the culture you are surrounded by. And trends cycle in and out of fashion constantly no matter where you live. While they can be fun to try out, it would be impossible to keep up with them all. Many trends also won’t suit our unique features. It’s perfectly OK to opt-out of following trends you don’t like.
When something you have naturally goes out of fashion, don’t worry – it will come back. It can be difficult to accept these things about ourselves when the fashion world is suddenly telling us it’s deemed out of fashion, especially when faced with criticism or even bullying because of it, but it’s important to remember that most bullies are projecting their own insecurities.
And we’ll repeat again – beauty is subjective! Don’t let society tell you what is and isn’t beautiful, especially if it’s merely something that happens to be trending. Beauty is much more than surface-level – even in modelling.
We all have insecurities because none of us is blessed with a perfect body or face. What even is perfect? We all have a different idea of perfection. As Dita Von Teese once said: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
All we can do is focus on becoming a better version of ourselves. There is no point holding ourselves to unachievable standards; it will only result in a toxic relationship with ourselves.
Personal growth as a person (and as a model) includes learning how to cope with negativity and accept those less-perfect parts of ourselves. Our uniqueness is what makes us stand apart from the crowd and can often be used to a model’s advantage.
Be prepared for criticism – it is inevitable in such a critical industry, regardless of what you look like – but have confidence in yourself, and faith in your abilities. You never know, your perceived “flaw” could soon be the must-have beauty trend.
Only by acknowledging and (if we can) embracing our own imperfections can we lead an authentic, content life.
Want to learn more about embracing imperfection? Take a look at Brene Brown’s best-selling book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”.