Welcome to the February digital issue of GLAMOUR

These attributes were impressed on my mind from a very young age, and were what I thought beauty was defined by.

But when I’d look in the mirror, what was reflected back to me was very dark hair, chocolate-brown eyes, olive-brown skin and dark bushy eyebrows that desperately needed plucking (which I wasn’t allowed to do until I was 16). I was also 5ft 3in tall and had lips that I thought were too big – I’d even try to ‘scrub’ them off. I didn’t fit the image of what I considered to be beautiful.

When I was younger, I would obsessively pore over a series of books called Sweet Valley High. It starred fictional twins with honey-blonde hair, perfect pouts, legs as long as the Eiffel Tower, and even, all-over tans thanks to days spent hanging out on Malibu beach with their equally beautiful gang of friends.

I longed to look like them so much, it hurt. They had form. As a child, I played with Barbie and Cindy dolls, admiring their long blonde hair and sky-blue eyes.

I did find some role models, like Lisa Bonet (Zoe Kravitz’ mother), although most were blonde, blue-eyed, super-skinny model-like individuals that upheld society’s notion of beauty. But I was lucky, because as I grew I slowly began to realise I didn’t need to worry, that being petite and olive-skinned was good too.

For other women, this self acceptance hasn’t come as easily. For them, there have been no role models, no women in books, no women on TV or movies who reflect themselves back at them. They’ve had to face the haters who’ve told them the way they look isn’t acceptable and instead, they’ve had to find self love and acceptance through their own personal journeys. These are the people we are championing this month.

We have asked 11 of these amazing women – Sophia Hadjipanteli, Munroe Bergdorf, Harnaam Kaur, Chidera Eggerue, Stephanie Yeboah, Jeyza Gary, Katie Piper, Michelle Elman, Amber Jean Rowan, Nabela Noor and Hani Sidow, to be this month’s GLAMOUR cover stars. We want to celebrate their beauty because they have refused to let the accepted and outdated notions of beauty – created by a Western gaze – define them.

They’ve not only faced the hate, they’ve turned it on its head and shown us all there is no longer one single definition of beauty. They are all completely unique, but they share a single mindset – a commitment to self love. So this issue we have dedicated our covers and accompanying features to these incredible women. Our Entertainment Director Josh Smith speaks to them to find out how they have found self love and to hopefully show all women looking in the mirror and feeling unhappy with what they see, that beauty is no longer one dimensional.

As much time as is dedicated to discussing the negatives of social media, it’s also provided these women with a platform and a community. We wanted to show how these women define their own beauty, so we asked each of them to shoot their cover image themselves to truly represent how they want to be seen. If you, like our coverstars, have ever faced self-criticism – perhaps because of your own unconventional body hair, or your body shape, scarring, skin colour or hair colour, we hope you take inspiration from these gamechanging women.

Elsewhere for this issue our Digital Director, Bianca London has asked journalist Radhika Sanghani on how she became a ‘big nose queen’ across the globe by learning to love the facial feature she always hated. Esther Calixte-Bea, a Montreal-based artist tells GLAMOUR about her self-liberating photography project in which she showcases her chest hair in all its glory. And Stephanie Yeboah dissects why the notion of plus-size women being with slimmer partners is still seen as taboo, and why mixed-weight dating shouldn’t be a vehicle for body shaming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *