People embracing their ‘flaws’ in all their glory and it’s so damn empowering

The Perfect Imperfections Project is the brainchild of Laura Jane Dale, who after suffering with anxiety and self-image issues, decided to make an empowering move and launch this incredible collection of images of people embracing their body just as it is.

At GLAMOUR, a title with the mantra ‘your beauty, your rules’, we celebrate beauty in all forms – and we recognise that there is no ‘perfect’. Got acne? Show it off. Have a few stretch marks? Who cares!

Literally, every body is beautiful and a new photography project, which GLAMOUR is seriously here for, is aiming to cement that message.

The aim of the project, for which Laura recruited volunteers to star, is all about feeling comfortable in your own skin – inside and out. “It is a photographic series of portraits showcasing volunteers’ perceived ‘imperfections’,” she tells us. “The ‘imperfections’ can be anything that has ever left them feeling less-than, be it a physical attribute, mental health, an invisible disability, or lifestyle choice.

“The aim is to show that we all have ‘flaws’ and no one is to say what is or isn’t normal, and that we should never be made to feel less-than because of them. So often society tries to dictate how we should feel, look or what we should strive for, when in fact we are all just human. And that is always okay.”

Hear, hear.

The project came about after Laura started to work through her own perceived flaws. Like so many others, she admits she suffers with anxiety and self-image issues, and what with the difficulties of 2020, being furloughed and facing potential redundancy from her job in travel, she simply got to a stage where it all got ‘a bit much’ – and we’re sure countless other Millennials can relate RN.

Laura explains: “I spent a lot of time trying to quieten my mind by walking, running, listening to podcasts like Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail and Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, before finally reaching out and asking for help. In doing so, I discovered that what had felt like a very internal, personal mindset is actually hugely relatable and I was in fact surrounded by people who have similar feelings and struggles. And who often, like me, hadn’t shown it or spoken about it. I hit a point where I was fed up with feeling like I had to cover up all the things about me that I felt or had been told weren’t good enough.”

Laura was inspired to kickstart her project after listening to the Happy Place podcast where Fearne was speaking to Chessie King about an Instagram experience. Chessie had posted a photo of herself online and every time she got a negative comment about how she ‘should’ look, she Photoshopped it to match, until the resulting image was ludicrously unreal and unattainable.

“I got so cross that people – strangers even – feel like they’re allowed to comment on someone’s appearance that I came up with the idea for the project,” said Laura. “It is my own way of pushing back at society and showing that we’re all worthy, we’re all acceptable, and we should never be made to feel anything less.”

The result? An incredibly empowering collection of images of amazing people who want to say f*** you to societal expectations of beauty. And Laura’s project shows no sign of abating.

“There are myriad ‘imperfections’ to cover and I’d love to include more in the project so we can help others feel relatable and less alone. So far among the volunteers’ stories we have shown vitiligo, melanoma scars, body dysmorphia, identity crisis, eating disorders, OCD, ADHD, birthmarks, endometriosis, adenomyosis, derealisation, anxiety, lupus and physical and learning disabilities.

But this is just the start and there’s endless scope to cover any and every ‘imperfection’ out there.”

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