Unsplash | Timothy Paul Smith

10+ 'Imperfect' Models Who Aren't Afraid Of Their Unique Beauty

The modeling world can be an alienating industry when all you see are skinny people with gorgeous bodies and seemingly perfect features. But the industry is changing and moving in the right direction.

These models are not only changing the way society views beauty, but also showing us that differences and unique features should be celebrated.

1. Tess Holliday

This plus-size model doesn't pull any punches when it comes to all the criticism she gets on a daily basis. She prefers to stay positive instead.

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Tess has been featured on numerous magazine covers, including Self and Cosmopolitan.

She's also the founder of Eff Your Beauty Standards, which promotes body positivity and diversity in the fashion industry.

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2. Baddie Winkle

Baddie is the perfect example of an older woman who proves that age just doesn't matter. She is living her best life and being a badass!

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Recently, Baddie even launched her own beauty line.

The INC.REDIBLE X BADDIE collection features bold and fun colors and can be found at Sephora.

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3. Kanya Sesser

Speaking of badasses, meet Kanya Sesser. She was born without legs but that didn't stop her. Her motto is, "No legs, no limits!"

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Kanya is also a huge advocate for initiatives like adaptive skateboard parks at the X Games.

She's helping to change people's minds about what people with disabilities can accomplish.

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4. Melanie Gaydos

Even having a genetic disorder like ectodermal dysplasia, which prevents your teeth, nails, pores, cartilage, and bones from developing, wouldn't stop this unique fashion model from succeeding.

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If Melanie looks familiar, it's likely that you've seen her on the big screen.

She's been featured in a number of films, music videos, and TV shows.

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5. Madeline Stuart

This amazing 22-year-old is only the second woman with Down Syndrome to walk down the New York Fashion Week runway. And she's not stopping there, either. I can't wait to see what she does next.

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In 2019, Madeline was awarded the Inspiration Achievement Award from Runway Of Dreams.

I'm sure we'll see more of this talented model in the years to come.

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6. Daphne Selfe

Daphne is the world's oldest supermodel. She's been modeling since 1949, so she's definitely seen it all. She's also a huge proponent of healthy beauty.

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At 91-years-old, Daphne doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

She continues to appear on magazine covers around the world and has published a memoir about her career.

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7. Nastya Kumarova

Instagram | @kiker_chan

This Russian model looks different because of albinism, a condition that makes her skin and hair look very pale. She embraces her uniqueness with gusto.

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Nastya has been featured in a number of high-profile campaigns.

Most recently, Nastya was in Gucci's handbag campaign and Anden Hud's lingerie ads.

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8. Kelly Knox

This outstanding young model was born without a forearm but refused to be aided by a prosthetic. Now she uses it as an accessory rather than a necessity.

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In her personal life, Kelly recently announced that she's expecting her second child.

Now she's using her fame to highlight the beauty of pregnancy.

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9. Jillian Mercado

Jillian proves that a disability shouldn't stop you from pursuing your dreams. This model is able to rock the fiercest styles and looks.

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Jillian's style and confidence are on fire.

Instagram | @jillianmercado

"There’s nothing sexier than empowering yourself and everyone around you at the same time while wearing a boss outfit," she said in an Instagram post.

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10. Lily McMenamy

She may not be your typical model because of her big eyes and lips but Lily was determined to climb to the top of fashion runways anyway.

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It's safe to say that Lily is taking over runways around the world.

Instagram | @lilymcmenamy

She recently walked for Comme Des Garçons and Symonds Pearmain which are huge names in the world of haute couture.

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11. Alba Parejo

This beautiful lady was born with 500 birthmarks and even had to remove some as a child. But, even with scars on her body, she still wanted to pursue modeling.

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Alba rose above the haters who bullied her over her condition.

As a teenager, Alba appeared in a photoshoot for a local magazine and quickly gained international fame. She's used her social media accounts to share her story and spread a body-positive message to others.

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12. Lizzie Velasquez

Instagram | @littlelizziev

Lizzie sufferers from a rare congenital disease called Marfanoid–progeroid–lipodystrophy, a syndrome that prevents her from accumulating body fat and gaining weight. She's shared her story to inspire others.

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Once dubbed "the ugliest woman in the world," Lizzie has fought back at the haters and has become an author and motivational speaker.

She's now one of my favorite accounts to follow!

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13. Viktoria Modesta has had a fully phenomenal modeling career despite losing her leg at age 19.

Instagram | @viktoriamodesta

She calls herself "the Bionic Woman" and now, so do I!

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14. Jacky O’Shaughnessy, who proves age is just a number.

Instagram | @jackyoshaughnessy

At 62-years-old, Jacky looks 10 times better than I do, lol.

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Look at her rocking it at New York Fashion Week last year for designer TOME NYC!

Stunning, if I do say so myself.

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15. Sofia Jirau

This Brazillian model was born with Down Syndrome but she's never let her condition hold her back from realizing her dreams of becoming a model.

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In 2020, Sofia made worldwide news.

She appeared on the runway during New York Fashion Week and absolutely slayed. People were inspired by her amazing walk and confidence.

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16. Amber Jean Rowan

At age 15, actress and model Amber Jean Rowan noticed a small patch of hair was falling out at the back of her head. As it turned out, she had alopecia, a condition that causes permanent hair loss.

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While Amber Jean was nervous to tell anyone about her condition, as she got older she's embraced it.

She realized that speaking out and rocking her unique look could help others with alopecia.

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17. Ali Stroker

Before she became a model, Ali Stroker made history as the first person who uses a wheelchair to win a Tony Award. She also appeared in shows like Glee.

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In 2020, Ali made the switch to modeling when she was chosen as one of Aerie's Role Models.

Ali appeared in the store's most recent, inclusive campaign which aims to represent real beauty and real women.

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18. Thando Hopa

Not only is Thando Hopa a model, she's also an activist and a lawyer. Talk about a pretty stacked resume there.

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Thando made history as the first woman with albinism to appear on the cover of Vogue.

Thando works as an outspoken diversity advocate, and was recognized in 2018 with the 100 Women Award from BBC for her activism.

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19. Winnie Harlow

This Canadian model discovered on America's Next Top Model has gained popularity not only for her beauty, but her perseverance despite having a skin condition called vitiligo.

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20. Sara Geurts

Sara is only 28-years-old but a genetic condition that impedes the production of collagen makes her skin look much older. She's bringing awareness to the beauty of this rare condition.

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I have to admit I hadn't heard of some of these ladies until today.

Giphy | NYFW: The Shows

But now I definitely want to follow their careers more closely and cheer them on. So amazing!

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