For years, the entertainment industry has encouraged unrealistic beauty standards, frowning upon natural features such as makeup-free faces or cellulite. However, many celebrities are taking a stand and using their platforms to challenge societal norms. Some are doing it by showing off their body-positive self-images, while others are creating inclusive beauty and clothing companies. Meet the celebrities who are challenging the norm through physical appearance and creative projects alike.
Winnie Harlow is a Canadian model making a huge splash in the fashion world. Harlow has a skin condition called vitiligo, where parts of her skin experience depigmentation, but she didn’t let this stop her from slaying the modeling scene.
Her confidence, talent, and beauty have led her to significant success while inspiring others along the way. Harlow frequently appears in ad campaigns and runway shows, including the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
In 2016, Alicia Keys announced she would no longer wear makeup. In the entertainment industry, the idea of a woman not wearing makeup is almost unheard of. Many women feel a need to put on a face of makeup before starting their day.
Almost all women featured on TV, in movies, or in magazines are wearing makeup. When Keys made the decision to go makeup-free, she not only encouraged fellow celebrities but women across the globe to embrace their natural features, as well.
Jonathan Van Ness
Jonathan Van Ness is one of the breakout stars of the Netflix series Queer Eye. Not only is he known for his vibrant personality, charismatic charm, and hair-styling skills but he is also renowned for his fashion choices.
Van Ness breaks the mold when it comes to fashion and inspires people to wear what makes them feel fierce, regardless of gender norms.
Tess Holliday is a fashion model turning the world on its head. She uses her platform as a plus-size model to encourage people to feel proud of their own bodies. Whether she’s walking a runway or posting on social media, she strives to spread messages of body positivity.
Holliday is also the founder of #EffYourBeautyStandards, a hashtag and Instagram account that encourages people to share their body-positive photos.
Billy Porter is an actor, singer, writer, director, and fashion icon. He expresses himself through gender-fluid fashion that defies norms, and he does it with incredible grace.
Whether he’s stepping onto the red carpet or attending the Met Gala, Porter is guaranteed to turn heads. He also inspires people around the world to embrace gender fluidity.
ChrissyTeigen is a model and television personality who isn’t afraid to get real. While many women feel a need to be perfect, Teigen uses her platform to share her imperfections. Instead of conforming to the entertainment industry’s standards, she prefers a realistic approach to representation.
As a public figure, Tiegen receives frequent criticism for her appearance. Rather than conforming to people’s expectations, however, she claps back and challenges beauty norms to favor a more realistic expectation of women.
Lizzo burst onto the scene with her beautiful singing voice and hit songs. With her newfound popularity, Lizzo is using her fame and music to express positive messages related to body image and self-love. When performing live, she shares the stage with plus-size dancers to show that all body types can get down.
Lizzo is also using her platform to normalize cellulite, as well as other “body imperfections.” With her music and public image, she’s encouraging people everywhere to embrace their bodies and practice self-love.
Ever since Lady Gaga made her way into fans’ hearts with “Just Dance,” she’s been going against the norm. She’s constantly pushing boundaries and sparking conversations while also advocating for the LGBTQ community.
Instead of conforming to what a pop star should be, Gaga has been paving the way for artistic expression that doesn’t fit typical beauty standards. Her cosmetics company is no different. The makeup line isn’t designed to follow trends and encourages people to express themselves through makeup however they please.
Comedian Amy Schumer uses her platform to defy beauty expectations for women. In her stand-up comedy routines and her films, she strives to portray women accurately, rather than through the entertainment industry’s lens. With her comedy and her public position, she proves women don’t have to follow the rules to be beautiful.
Schumer is an open book who isn’t afraid to pose without makeup or show her scars. She also incorporates self-love into her comedy. Through her jokes, she encourages people to love and accept themselves for who they are.
Billie Eilish is a teenage singer-songwriter taking over the world. In addition to her graceful voice and catchy music, Eilish is making an impact with her fashion choices. Instead of opting for fitted clothing, she makes a conscious choice to dress in baggy attire.
Eilish claps back at haters when criticized for her fashion choices. In an Instagram post, she said, “if only i dressed normal id be so much hotter yeah yeah come up with a better comment im tired of that one.”
Harry Styles is an international singer who rose to fame as a member of the boy band One Direction. Now a solo performer and fashion icon, Styles is using his fame to defy what beauty standards mean for men. Styles wears gender-fluid clothing and makeup as a form of self-expression and encourages his fans to do the same.
Styles strives to create an accepting space where people can express themselves and their creativity through their physical appearance, no matter their gender identity.
Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous people in the world. With her fame, she has launched several lines of beauty products, ranging from makeup to skin care to fragrances. A campaign surrounding her fragrance line celebrated the female body, cellulite and all.
The campaign aimed to represent women’s bodies accurately, showing images of stretch marks, scars, and more. Kim is open when it comes to showing off her body and embracing her sexuality, and she encourages others to feel the same way.
After her breakout role in the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, actress Laverne Cox has used her platform to show that #TransIsBeautiful. A transgender woman herself, Cox uses her voice and her place in the spotlight to raise up the voices of fellow trans people.
Cox knows firsthand the struggles of being trans, which is why she strives to make a place for trans people in the entertainment industry where they can feel beautiful and accepted.
Actress and singer Zendaya is using her fame to make sure everyone feels comfortable and confident in their clothing. She released a clothing line that is size-inclusive, meaning it’s designed for people of all body types. Through her brand, Zendaya aims to make sure everybody feels represented and beautiful, no matter their size.
Zendaya’s clothing line is affordable and accessible. It is also gender-fluid. Each piece is suitable for anyone, breaking down the idea that only a certain type of person can rock celebrity clothing.
Another celebrity using her fame to create an inclusive brand is Rihanna. Her makeup line features an incredible number of shades that cater to people of every skin color. Additionally, the runway shows for her clothing line feature a diverse range of models.
In an ad for her brand, Rihanna featured a model with facial scars. She refused to have the scars removed or covered during the editing process to show these so-called “flaws” are beautiful.
Christian Siriano is a designer who came to fame by winning the fashion designer reality show Project Runway. After winning, he launched his signature designer clothing line. His fashion shows feature a diverse range of models that break the mold.
Siriano dresses some of the most famous stars in Hollywood for some of the biggest nights of the year, including the Oscars. As one of the top fashion designers in the country, his inclusive designs are making an impact and inspiring people of all sizes to feel beautiful.
When you think of traditional beauty standards, you probably don’t think of drag queens. RuPaul aimed to change that when he burst onto the scene and released a song called “Supermodel (You Better Work).” Tall and statuesque, RuPaul used his voice to make way for the nonconforming in the beauty world.
Today, RuPaul’s Emmy-award-winning show RuPaul’s Drag Race has launched the careers of hundreds of drag queens who are making an impact in the entertainment industry and redefining what it means to be beautiful.
It can feel discouraging to flip through the pages of magazines only to see edited photos of slender women. These altered images set an unrealistic standard of beauty. So when Ashley Graham launched her swimsuit collection, the campaign ads featured unedited photos.
Graham is a body-positive activist and plus-size supermodel who is breaking down boundaries in the fashion world. In addition to sharing unedited photos as part of the release of her swimwear, she strived to make sure she designed her line with the needs of all women in mind, no matter their size or body type.
When Amy Purdy was 19 years old, she contracted Neisseriameningitidis. The disease affected her circulatory system and led her to experience septic shock. As a result, doctors had to amputate both of her legs below the knee. Purdy didn’t let her disability get in her way. Instead, she became a Paralympics medalist, actress, model, clothing designer, motivational speaker, and author.
Purdy uses her platform to tear down beauty standards and prove you can be beautiful even if you have a disability. She uses her voice to empower amputees and people with disabilities across the world, helping them feel represented and gorgeous.
Aaron Philip is a model with cerebral palsy. She is also openly transgender. With her modeling career, she is paving the way for disabled and transgender models of color. Philip has been featured in international magazines and is helping redefine what it means to be beautiful.
With her role in the fashion world, she is tearing down traditional standards of beauty and challenging the norm, making room for the underrepresented.
Halsey is more than a pop star. She is also a fashion icon and rule-breaking celebrity. When Halsey appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, she posed for the photo exposing her underarm stubble. Instead of hiding her hair, she embraced it in full for the world to see.
By choosing to show her underarm hair, she encouraged people across the globe to feel more comfortable and confident with their bodies.
Ruby Rose is an actress who grew to fame through her role in Orange Is the New Black. She identifies as gender fluid, challenging the standard definition of beauty and turning it on its head. Her striking features, sleek style, and fluid expression significantly helped tear down beauty norms.
Rose has experienced skinny-shaming in the past and has called out critics. On Instagram she said, “I hate it because it worries fans or shames them. I hate it because it uses no logic and basically is just someone projecting their experience and expectations on others.”
These celebrities prove that traditional beauty standards are a thing of the past. They use their platform to pave the way for those who don’t conform to societal norms, and they inspire people of all walks of life to embrace their own skin and express their true and authentic selves.