Once upon a time, models were tall, skinny, mostly white, and able-bodied. Sure, they were stunning, but they hardly reflected the diversity of humankind and forms of beauty that are just as valid.
Now, the fashion world is celebrating models that divert from the outdated ideas of conventional beauty. And Melanie Gaydos is among the new faces leading the charge.
The 28-year-old based in the US has a rare genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia, which has prevented her teeth, pores, nails, cartilage and bones from developing. Gaydos also has alopecia, and is partially blind after her the growth of her eyelashes scratched her eyes.
She told The Independent in 2015 that she has rejected enhancements – including dentures and wigs – because she is “more comfortable with myself how I am”.
Gaydos, who is an art graduate in New York City, hated having her photo taken but was encouraged to model by a boyfriend.
During her career, she has worked with photographers including the legendaty Eugenio Recuenco.
However, Gaydos added that the industry still has some way to go before diverse models are truly accepted.
“There are simply not enough 'different' people fighting to be in whatever spot or position," she said.
However, she added that she has forced herself to “learn more about who I was and to become more comfortable with who I am at my core and natural state of being.”
Gaydos’ comes as unconventional models, from older women to those larger than a size zero, are added to agency books.
Most recently, self-described body activist Ashley Graham graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.
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