You CAN wear a dark lip.

• Cre­ate a sig­na­ture look. • Chal­lenge your beauty belief sys­tem. • Dis­cover fun new prod­ucts to help you “do you” to the max. • Em­brace what makes you unique.

ELLE (Canada) - - Insider -

When I was a young girl, I would look in the mir­ror and be alarmed at all the things that were wrong with my ap­pear­ance. I found that my ears stuck out; I never wore a pony­tail or tucked my hair be­hind my ears. I was so skinny that my dad called me chicken legs. There were bags un­der my eyes that al­ways made me look, even at the age of six, as if I had just been fired. I thought my toes were too long and strange look­ing. I was so ashamed of my feet that I wore a pair of socks to walk down the street to the swimming pool. When I tried to wear them to go in the wa­ter, the life­guard stood up in his chair as if he’d just seen a shark.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, mod­els were all ridicu­lously per­fect knock­outs. That was the stan­dard of beauty I com­pared my­self to: Guess-cam­paign glama­zons like Claudia Schif­fer. I went through fash­ion mag­a­zines think­ing, like Snow White’s step­mother, that ev­ery­one was more beau­ti­ful, more wor­thy, more per­fect. I re­mem­ber sit­ting in the back of the class in Grade 9 with some friends and dis­cussing how beau­ti­ful mod­els Elle Macpher­son, Naomi Camp­bell and Cindy Craw­ford were. There was some­thing un­happy in the dis­cussing, as if we were ac­know­ledg­ing that we’d never be as pretty or as wor­thy. They were per­fect, and we were far from it.

The voice of the aver­age girl had no fo­rum back then. De­sires and con­cerns were rel­e­gated to small sym­posia at the un­cool ta­ble in the cafe­te­ria. But the In­ter­net has given young girls a voice. This win­dow into pri­vate lives is one of the joys of the new media. The lives of mod­els have also be­come avail­able through this medium. On Twit­ter and In­sta­gram, they post photos of them­selves with their hair un­washed and no makeup; it has be­come al­most fash­ion­able to ad­mit to be­ing im­per­fect and hu­man. And lately in fash­ion there has been a noted turn­ing away from the spec­tac­u­lar to­ward the ec­cen­tric and dis­tinct in mod­els.

There is Natalie Westling, with her bright-red hair that looks like she dyed it in the sink at a sleep­over party. Stella Lu­cia might just be the world’s most adorable Ne­an­derthal, and Masha Tyelna’s eyes are so enor­mous that they seem Pho­to­shopped. Molly Bair ap­pears to be from another planet al­to­gether. In an in­ter­view with CNN, she de­clared, “I guess I’m em­brac­ing that alien-rat de­mon-goblin-grem­lin sort of vibe.” Speak­ing of big ears, Binx Wal­ton

looks as if she bought hers at a cos­tume store and stuck them on to look like an elf. These women, in part be­cause of their flaws, are un­for­get­table.

This new crop of mod­els re­minds me of girls I used to know when I was younger. They bring to mind the weird girl who would sit at the back of the class cut­ting her own hair. Or the girl who would talk to her sleeve and write three-page fan letters to Ricky Schroder in­stead of hang­ing out. They re­mind me of some sort of au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ence of girl­hood. The mod­els from the ’80s were un­like any­one I’ve ever been close to.

For in­stance, I had a friend named Sab­rina. She had a round face and thin red hair that stuck to her head. She had a me­dieval look about her, like she ought to be wear­ing a headdress and frown­ing at a dragon. She was so im­ag­i­na­tive and wrote po­etry. She al­ways had her hand up in class, even though her an­swers were some­times wrong. I found that odd-look­ing girl, with her ec­cen­tric, myth­i­cal ap­pear­ance, to be the most beau­ti­ful girl in the world.

All true art is a touch ugly. It de­mands you take a sec­ond look at it. It is provoca­tive. You have to learn to see the beauty in it, as it comes to re­veal it­self to you. We feel proud of our­selves when we spot some­thing that is un­usual but we know is beau­ti­ful: like read­ing Vir­ginia Woolf, like look­ing at Pi­casso, like lis­ten­ing to Lou Reed. It makes you more em­pa­thetic. You ex­pand your idea of what is beau­ti­ful and then you look back at the world and it is just so much more full of won­der.

These days, I couldn’t care less about my big ears. I think they make me look smart. And as for my big feet, I or­der 1970s leather men’s boots. My body is just the ves­sel that holds my per­son­al­ity, and I rather like the de­tails that re­mind me that I am unique. I de­cide what beau­ti­ful is, and I think it’s con­fi­dence. An­jel­ica Hus­ton once said, “I might not have phys­i­cal per­fec­tion, but I’m go­ing to think my­self into be­ing beau­ti­ful.”

A pretty girl can al­ways be found—there are a zil­lion pic­tures of them online and at least one on ev­ery sub­way car you climb into. The only thing that can make us pause to­day is unique­ness. That’s what beauty is now; it’s some­thing that makes you stick out in a crowd. It is ab­nor­mal and weird. It is deeply, won­der­fully flawed.

Stella Lu­cia

Binx Wal­ton

Molly Bair

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