Beauty standards are made to be broken.
As long as the world’s been spinning, beauty standards have continued to evolve and change with the times. It’s hard to believe that even a decade ago plus-sized models were a rarity in the fashion industry, and men were not welcome or included in beauty. Times have changed so fast, and thankfully, it’s for the better. People have always and will always use beauty as a form of expression, a way to take control of their appearance and stand in their power as they see fit – changing beauty standards for everyone along the way.
One group that knows this better than anyone else is the LGBTQIA community. They’ve been blazing trails in beauty, fashion, and culture for centuries, and the rest of us are just happy to ride on their coattails. Nearly every trend you see on Instagram today originated in drag culture, of which was mostly built on the backs of BIPOC individuals from the LGBTQIA community. (If you haven’t thanked a drag queen today for their contributions to modern society, this is your friendly reminder to do so now.)
Despite their contributions, the beauty industry still fails to uplift this marginalized group in any meaningful way. In 2020, we still see a lack of representation in the beauty industry and beyond, particularly when it comes to trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Although this group has been traditionally been underrepresented in mainstream media, they’ve created their own colorful worlds on social media that are better than anything you see on the big screen.
On Instagram and TikTok, trans and gender non-conforming individuals are celebrated for their uniqueness and individuality, and their freedom of expression gives others the permission they feel they need to be themselves. Some, like Jamie Windust, are redefining beauty by pioneering their own signature makeup style, while others are just simply carving out a space for themselves in a world that has never completely welcomed them.
“I am not trying to redefine beauty standards, I am just trying to broaden them enough so that trans and non-binary people can feel included,” says Vicky Franco, a beauty influencer living in Italy.
Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite trans and gender non-comforming beauty influencers who are rewriting the rules of beauty to include their own narrative. These inspiring folks are paving the way for the next generation to define their own beauty standards, and live up to them on their own terms. Follow them, support them, and celebrate them by standing in your own truth!