Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty

The definition of beauty has changed over the years and cultures, almost as much as fashion has evolved. Essentially, before the 20th-Century, the more voluptuous a woman was, the more attractive. Curvy bodies were indicative of health, fertility, and resources. During this time, a woman's role was to take care of the home and have children. When the 20th-Century started, particularly the 1920s, and women finally won the right to vote, things began to change. The Flapper era celebrated a new freedom that women had never experienced before, and with it, they chose to take on a more boyish look, with skinny, curve-less bodies being the rage. Women tried to model themselves after the opposite sex that had previously had all the power. This was the beginning of the thinner body being the ideal. 

The 1920s ended in The Great Depression, which, as we know, was very financially devastating to many people. This left women unable to focus on keeping their bodies as lean as during the Flapper era, but they also were unable to become voluptuous. Ergo, they found a happy medium as everyone chipped in to stay alive.

America was in a much more celebratory mood after it had recovered from The Great Depression and World War II was over, and that really came off in the ideals in the 1950s and early 1960s. Thin was back in style, but this time it came with curves, ideally the perfect hourglass body. This was the time of Marilyn Monroe, and many other vivacious women, who all would still have been in the range of 18-22BMI (a healthy BMI ranges from 18.5 to 29.9 (learn more here)), but unlike the Flappers, these women loved to highlight their curves. 

Since then, skinny has never fallen out of style, but the level of skinny has fluctuated a little bit. With '60s super models like Twiggy, and '90s super models like Kate Moss, the "heroin chic" look took over the runways, but the '70s and '80s highlighted more curvy and athletic women, respectively.   

What is amazing about 2018 is this is the first time in history where, slowly but surely, diversity is being considered beautiful. People are realizing that there isn't one perfect body type. The runways are starting to cater to a larger audience of women. We are starting to see more of a variety in the shape and size of the model, women are coming from all different backgrounds, and there is even a movement to have more women with disabilities included. Now is an exciting time for the fashion world, as we start to look at women for the beauty they are instead of what they could be. 

In celebration of this, Jejune shot and interviewed a beautiful set of young women from all different backgrounds and body types.  

Foreword  by: Kira Bucca, Editor-in-Chief of Jejune Magazine
To learn more about women through the ages please check out these references: one, two, and three.

Tara Lynn, at IMG Models

What does it mean to you to be body positive?
Body positive is about loving my body and accepting it as it is, in all its states and stages of change. It's also about supporting all my fellow humans in their journeys of self love.

What can individuals do to improve this issue?
Spread the love. Appreciate diverse beauty where you see it. If you have specific ideals of aesthetics or health, then live those in your own life. But don't impress your ideals on anyone else's body.

What is the one thing you love about your body?
There's no one thing, I love all of it.

What makes you feel sexy?
I feel sexy when I feel strong, body and mind.

For Curve sizing, is clothing becoming more attainable?
There's so much more curve fashion available now than when I was a teen, especially from fast fashion brands. In high end though, it's still a tiny proportion that goes beyond a size 12. Things are going in the right direction but we have a long way to go.

What do you think is the biggest misconception for plus size?  And, why do you think this exists?
The biggest misconception for plus is that we want to hide, or have hangups and want to disguise certain areas of our bodies. This isn't necessarily the case. Sometimes we want exactly the same clothes as designers are already making, just in the appropriate circumference.

Who are your favorite designers?
I love Christian Siriano, Marchesa, Michael Kors, DVF, Miss Crabb, Lanvin

Who is your role model & why?
My mama! She's so kind, generous, socially responsible, and appreciates beauty in everything.

Instagram info: @taralynn

Gordonnay Gaines, at State Models

What is the one thing you love about your body?
I used to be very insecure about my body and me not being “curvy” like the rest of my family, but I eventually grew out of that phase. I truly love my boobs and my shape now, just because it’s mine. Some days, insecurities get to me, but making sure you feel good about yourself is an everyday responsibility.

What makes you feel sexy?
Definitely my attitude. My attitude is something to watch out for (lol), but I feel like my determination is something I think is very “sexy.”

Do you get stressed out with maintaining an ideal weight for modeling?
I’ve always had a problem with gaining weight, so sometimes I’m too small for a designer's clothes, which is frustrating. Three years ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy and the medication I take sometimes takes away my appetite, therefore, I have to make sure to still eat and make sure I go to the gym to try to put on muscle, and not at all to lose weight.

Do you think models in the future will be all sizes and shapes?
I do. I’m in the petite division at my agency, which wasn’t a thing a while back, so we see the change even now. We need representation in the fashion industry. Different sizes, shapes, races, gender, and so on. Representation matters.

Instagram: @GordonnayGaines

Make-up: Anneliese Tieck at Judy Casey
Hair: Luis Guillermo at Factory Downtown
Rest of the team is the same.

Mia Kang, at Women 360

How do you feel now as a size 8 compared to before when you were a size 2?
I finally feel happy. I feel healthy. I feel strong. I feel like a more powerful woman now that I have stopped trying to conform to what others want me to look like.

What is your motto for loving your body? Is there a message out there you want to give to other women to encourage them to feel good about themselves?
There is nothing more beautiful than a strong and confident woman. We all have insecurities, and they aren't going anywhere, so learn to love them then they won't weigh you down anymore. We as women all go through the same things, we all have insecurities, we all feel the pressure. We need to celebrate our differences not try to compare ourselves to one another. 

What’s the one thing you celebrate about your body everyday?
That you wake up to see another day. Life is far too short to spend it unhappy in the one body you've been given. Love it, use it, move, explore what you can do, celebrate your strength.

Make-up: Anneliese Tieck at Judy Casey
Hair: Luis Guillermo at Factory Downtown
Rest of the team is the same.

What does a positive body image mean to you?
I think that we need diversity in the media. People need to be able to relate to one another. We need realistic and achievable standards of beauty. When I was growing up there were next to no women in the media that I could relate to, which created a pressure of how women should look. We have a responsibility to do what we can to alleviate this pressure off of women, because let me tell you it is hard to be a woman today. 

What does self-love mean to you?
When are you 100% unapologetically happy with being yourself. 

Instagram: @missmiakang

Mia is our cover model. If you would like to read her extended interview about how she is Battling the Beauty Standard, and see more images, please check it out here.

Anastasia Leung Lo Hing, at One Management

What is the one thing you love about your body?
I don’t really know... can I only pick one? I’m grateful that I’m healthy and that I’m able to workout every week. I feel like my body is strong, which makes me feel so blessed.

What makes you feel sexy?
Smelling good and being super clean lol.

What makes a girl or woman seem beautiful to you?
Self confidence. It’s so sexy!

Do you get stressed out with maintaining an ideal weight for modeling?
I used to get stressed a lot. But now that I found a great balance that works for me, I’m no longer stressed out. It’s all about knowing your body, once you find out how, you know how to handle it.

When do you feel most proud of who you are?
I feel most proud of who I am, when I take care of myself. #Selflove

Do you think models in the future will be all sizes and shapes?
I think in the future models will definitely be ALL sizes and shapes! And I hope I’ll still be around to be a part of it all.

Instagram: @anastasia_llh

Denise Bidot, at Muse Models

How has the industry changed with Curve sizes since you started? 
It's changed dramatically since I've entered this world. More brands are integrating curvy women in their regular campaigns and as a result there are many, many curve models now as opposed to when I started there were only a few. 

What does it mean to you to be body positive? 
Loving myself, my curves, being healthy and maintaining a balanced diet. 

What can individuals do to improve body positivity? 
Be more aware in general that not everything they see on social media is real. Most people don't have perfect bodies and we all just need to be kinder to ourselves. 

What is the one thing you love about your body? 
I wouldn't say there's one thing. I honestly love my body in it's entirety. Does my heart count? ;) 

What makes you feel sexy?
Being cooped up at home with my puppy chilling on the couch with no makeup on.

For Curve sizing, is clothing becoming more attainable?
Yes! But we still have a long way to go.

How do you feel plus-size fashion is viewed by the fashion world at large?
It's becoming more accepted and I'm proud of the industry. It really has evolved so much but again, we have ways to go!

What do you think is the biggest misconception for plus size?  And, why do you think this exists?
People think plus size means "fat" and "unhealthy" which is the biggest misconception. I mean, I consider myself to be healthy and I'm careful about what I put into my body. I think my body type is more the norm and people don't realize so plus size is actually just normal.

Who are your favorite designers?
Rag and Bone, Good American, Chromat, Alexander Wang, so so many.

Who is your role model & why?
My mother, forever and always. She keeps me in check and I've always looked up to her. She's the strongest woman I know.

Instagram: @denisebidot

Jillian Mercado, at IMG Models
First fashion model in a wheelchair

What do you like about the modeling profession?
Well personally speaking being a professional model in the mainstream media with a visible disability is pretty unheard of. That being said, having the opportunity to not only get signed to the biggest agencies in the world (IMG worldwide/WME) but to shine a light on diversity and disabilities in fashion is a wonderful honor and a responsibility that makes my love for fashion worth it all.

How did you get discovered?
This was about four years ago when Nicola Formichetti casted me for a worldwide campaign with Diesel. After this went viral I knew I had a great opportunity to represent many who didn’t think that being a model with a visible disability would be possible. This would be including myself. Disability isn’t shown in fashion as much as I believe it should, so I was beyond happy that people around the world saw diversity in a world wide ad!

How did you feel growing up having to use a wheelchair?  
It was very different than you would expect. I have two younger sisters who would be categorized as normal. My parents never treated me any different from them growing up so my disability wasn’t the main spotlight. I just knew that I had to go to the doctors more often than they did and that when going out I would sit in a wheelchair. I knew I was different but it was never a problem.  Growing up into my teenage years was the beginning of noticing I was different than everyone else in a negative light.

How do you feel now?  
I love every minute of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. If I had the opportunity to change it I’m pretty sure I would pass. Any experiences that I had growing up made me who I am today. It has made me stronger,  more conscious of the differences and the diversity we have in this world. Also it truly puts a perspective on the little things in life and that most people bypass how perfect this world is. That every individual human on this earth has a unique life. I believe we should celebrate that in its full capacity everywhere.  

Is there a tight network of support with other women in wheelchairs?
I believe there is! I know and got the honor and privilege to meet a few women who are in wheelchairs who are just kicking ass left and right! It’s a beautiful time to be alive during this social media world we live in. More and more females who have disabilities are getting more comfortable showing their true self and not feeling ashamed of being themselves.  It’s extremely awesome and makes my job that much cooler to represent and to make way for other people who have disabilities part of the fashion world.

What is your favorite part of your body?  
I love my whole body! I have learned to appreciate it as an adult more and more everyday.

What makes you feel sexy?
There’s a few things that make me feel sexy to be honest. Wearing lingerie is something that I discovered that makes me feel the most sexy. It mostly has to do with the feeling and how complex lingerie can be. Looking at myself in its most vulnerable position with lingerie on! I mean woah! I believe anyone can look sexy in lingerie. It’s that powerful feeling you get.

Instagram info: @jilly_peppa

Team Credits:
Photographer: Kira Bucca 
Stylist: Alison Hernon at Agency Gerard Artists
Make-up: Abraham Sprinkle at Kate Ryan
Hair: Cindy Adams at Halley Resources
Nails: Elizabeth Garcia 
Assistant Fashion Stylist: Jazmin Hopkins
Photography Assistants: Tam Nguyen

Flock Of Birds

Flock Of Birds

Dead Than Cool: Unisex Brand

Dead Than Cool: Unisex Brand