Meet The Creatives Redefining Beauty On Their Own Terms
Thanks to recent cultural shifts, conversations around the concept of beauty have begun to change. Many intersectional factors have brought us to this moment; the birth of third-wave feminism; the rise of social media; the burgeoning body-positivity movement and ideas of self-acceptance that have come with it and, most pressingly, the deafening calls for diversity in front of the camera and beyond. As a result, a new wave of creatives is redefining beauty on their own terms. In the hands of these trailblazing cultural leaders, the future of beauty is inclusive.
British makeup maverick Isamaya Ffrench has been reimagining the possibilities of makeup with her avant-garde, left-of-centre approach to beauty since she came on the scene in 2015 and has since worked with the likes of Tom Ford, Byredo and Burberry. Her own newly launched makeup line is inspired by BDSM (for the uninitiated that is Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadochism and Masochism). “We are too comfortable sticking to things we know,” she says. “I want to make something that feels different and ever-evolving.”
Jamaican-born hairstylist Cyndia Harvey is considered one of the most exciting stylists of her generation. Her 2017 film This Hair Of Mine – a celebration of Black hair and culture – her braids at the Simone Rocha AW22 catwalk show, the slick-meets-wispy waves at Jacquemus, and the fantastical Afro-meets-punk creation at Schiaparelli, and now her new haircare brand – also called This Hair Of Mine – all challenge the beauty ideal because, she says, “I want to create a future where blackness is nurtured and cared for.”
Colombian makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez takes his vibrant visual cues from the underground queer club scene. “My work communicates power, mystique, playfulness, and sexual empowerment,” he says. Using makeup as a means of expression, his bold aesthetic has punctuated the pages of countless magazines, including Vogue, Dazed And Confused and i-D.
Reinterpreting the rich colours and traditional adornments of Punjabi culture, Australian makeup artist Rowi Singh celebrates the beauty of her South Asian roots, after years of trying to repress them. Her culturally infused aesthetic and commitment to inclusivity have seen brands including Fenty Beauty and Anastasia Beverly Hills clamour to collaborate with her.
After having both legs amputated due to a tampon-related case of toxic shock syndrome, American model Lauren Wasser has made it her mission to redefine what we think of as beauty. She returned to the catwalk with her gold prosthetics, recently closing the show for Louis Vuitton’s 2023 Cruise collection. “Beauty within the modelling world has always been focused on perfection,” she says. “That’s just not realistic.”
British pimple-positivity activist Lou Northcote is using her platform to destigmatise acne and uproot the idea of flawless skin as the only definition of beauty. “I am trying to bring awareness to real skin,” she says. “To help others with acne not feel alone, and to challenge the people who say acne is dirty and unclean.”
Devin Halbal AKA hal.baddie rose to TikTok fame thanks to her relatable morning mantras and fresh take on positive affirmations. Never without her selfie stick, she’s one of the industry’s favourite muses. “As a transgender woman who has not yet gotten rid of my facial hair or had any surgeries, I am challenging what it means to be beautiful by simply existing.”
Tish Weinstock is a writer, editor and creative consultant working across beauty, fashion and culture, and is contributing editor at British Vogue