Models Have Insecurities Too

You know we have a cultural problem when supermodel Miranda Kerr said, “models are some of the most insecure people I’ve ever met.”
The struggle becomes even more internalised for women who don’t conventionally fit into society’s beauty standards. In Indonesia, women with curvier bodies, skin conditions and darker complexions struggle every day to feel beautiful as family contribute to an intense drive for thinness, and “mulus”, light skin has a deeply-entrenched association with high
status.
But society’s unfair beauty standards did not stop models Farilla, Zsazsa and Shapna from pursuing in life. Here are their stories and how they managed to turn their physical “flaws” into their superpowers.
“I fainted several times because I tried so hard to diet,” said Farilla, now one of the most soughtafter models in Indonesia. “However, the more I tried to accept myself, the better it got.” Farilla managed to overcome her insecurities after realising that people need plus-size models – people need representation.
By accepting who she was, she managed to make others believe that beauty goes beyond shape and size. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, turns out, modelling agencies find her beautiful, too.
“I often asked God why I am different.” Zsazsa has vitiligo, a skin condition in which the skin loses its pigment cells, causing a “patchy” look in different areas of the body. Because this condition cannot be cured she spent her childhood quiet and hidden, trying her best to stick to the shadows in order to avoid unwarranted looks and comments.
“It’s not easy accepting something you didn’t ask for,” Zsazsa admits. “But I came to believe that I came to earth with a purpose.” It was tough, but life started to feel easier as soon as she believed in herself and welcomed her imperfections with open arms. Now she believes that her vitiligo is her superpower, allowing her to feel confident in ways she never did, and see things with the understanding of someone who knows what it’s like to be different.
“We live in Indonesia. We are meant to be diverse. So, why can’t we all be accepted?” Shapna makes a good comment about the diversity problem in Indonesia. “I been through a
lot with people who can’t seem to accept diversity.” Like many societies in Asia, light skin is
often associated with wealth and privilege. As a result, advertisements selling skin-lightening creams prevail, further endorsing the deeplyentrenched notion that light is better.
However, that did not stop Shapna from embracing her complexion in campaigns by multinational brands such as The Body Shop. “My family taught me not to be sad about [my darker skin complexion] because we are different.” It is interesting how everybody was born different but are expected to look the same.
These stories may make you feel good, and encourage you to think differently about your insecurities. But one thing for sure is that nothing should stop you from living life to its fullest, especially how people perceive your physical appearance. By turning your physical “flaws” into your superpowers, maybe you, too, could represent Indonesia’s beauty like Farilla, Zsazsa and Shapna.

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