For years, the beauty and fashion industries have been dominated by one look, one body type. So far, 2017 has seen a beauty revolution of sorts, with unique new models and makeup gurus taking the stage and showing us how it’s done. If these new icons have taught us anything so far, it’s that anyone can strut their stuff, and that everyone, whether they fit the “ideal” body type or not, is equally beautiful.
American actress, activist, model, and writer Hari Nef, 24, is an icon for transgender people from all over. Originally beginning her model career during her transition, Nef has been breaking boundaries and inspiring her fans for years, walking the runway like a pro and appearing in magazines like Vogue. She writes as much as she models, and is very outspoken when it comes to transgender rights and issues. The first trans women to be signed to IMG models, Hari Nef is one of many new faces breaking the beauty mold in the coming years.
Canadian model/activist Winnie Harlow, 22, shot to fame after appearing on the television show “America’s Next Top Model.” After that, she owned the runway and was seen everywhere from Vogue Italia to Cosmopolitan and Dazed magazine. Harlow has the skin condition vitiligo, which causes a discoloration of many patches of skin. Growing up, she was frequently bullied and shamed for it, but persevered and is now one to watch, as she’s already a brand ambassador for the Barcelona-based brand Desigual alongside pro Adriana Lima. She even has a cameo in Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade. Harlow is a spokesperson for those with vitiligo, sharing her story in a TED talk in 2014, and has nowhere to go but up.
Manny Gutierrez, 26, faced obstacle after obstacle in getting to where he is today. Growing up in a strictly Mormon household in the U.S., MannyMua, as he’s called on social media, wasn’t initially supported by his parents in his makeup endeavors. Ostracized by his church when he was outed as gay, he struggled with finding support and acceptance from those close to him. However, he stayed true to himself and is now inspiring hundreds of thousands on social media and in real life, as a popular makeup artist and first ever male brand ambassador of Maybelline. Manny Gutierrez and a host of other new male makeup gurus are smashing beauty expectations left and right, showing us all that makeup and beauty are for everyone.
Muslim women have never been represented in mainstream fashion. Model Halima Aden, 19, is changing this after first being noticed during the Miss Minnesota pageant last year, making history as the first woman to compete in a hijab and burkini. Now she’s in the big leagues, walking the Yeezy Season 5 fashion show during the latest New York Fashion Week. The Somali-American model, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the U.S., recently signed with IMG models and is promoting religious acceptance in fashion and society on and off the catwalk.
Last but not least, 20-year old Madeline Stuart is an Australian model who has twice graced the New York Fashion Week runways and has been seen on magazine covers and catwalks worldwide. She even has her own fashion line, 21 Reasons Why by Madeline Stuart. Stuart is challenging fashion-industry norms by being the first ever supermodel with Down Syndrome, proving that nothing can stop her or others with disabilities from achieving their goals. She’s an inspiration for those with and without disabilities, and, like all of the beauty gurus and fashion models above, is changing the common expectations of beauty and looks on a global scale.