TIME beauty

Beyoncé and Lupita Nyong’o are on the Covers of TIME and People and It Is a Big Deal

Having two black women— representing different types of black beauty— on two storied covers is something to celebrate

On Thursday, the hashtag #WhatIsPretty trended on Twitter, inspiring men and women across the globe to share photos of what they consider beautiful. And on Thursday, the covers of two of the world’s largest magazines, TIME and People had a resounding answer: black women.

People named the Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o “The World’s Most Beautiful Person of 2014.” And the ever-flawless Beyoncé graces the cover of TIME magazine’s issue about the world’s most influential people. (Both magazines are published by Time Inc.)

Two black women from different ends of the spectrum of beauty—one with deep brown skin a short natural ‘do, the other with flowing blonde tresses and skin like creamy caramel—were chosen to represent the most beautiful and most influential women in the world. That’s something to celebrate.

Photograph by Paola Kudacki for TIME

It would be easy to dismiss the covers as revering of the fickle world of celebrity or to brush the two off as “it girls” who will dominate headlines for a year or so and fade to the background when another, more hot woman catches the interest of Hollywood.

It’s much harder to ignore the importance of this moment for little brown and black girls who will see these covers on supermarket shelves and think for a second, “hey, she looks just like me.”

There are countless documentaries, news stories, think pieces, tweets, and soapbox moments that show black women still have a ways to go until their “black” is seen as beautiful by all. The recent documentary film “Dark Girls” dug deeply into the everyday struggles with acceptance and beauty facing brown skin women in America. African American girls have with their personal and society’s perceptions of their beauty. Lupita has described herself as “night shade” and was even quoted in People saying she considered “light skin and long, flowing, straight hair” beautiful as a young girl. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”


And earlier in April, the U.S. Army issued new grooming rules that reminded African American women that the hairstyles we choose are still described using words like “unkempt” and “unruly.”(And when those words don’t’ fit, we’re often questioned about whether or not the hair on our heads grows from our scalps or was bought in a store.)

Unfortunately, these moments are still too common and are representative of the deep-rooted racism our society is still struggling to overcome. In no way are two magazine covers going to change that, but you know what? Beyoncé championed her self-titled album as a message on finding the beauty in imperfection and that’s what we should do here. Recognize the beauty of all women despite the imperfect standards placed upon them.

For this not-so-little brown girl, who once questioned why her naturally curly coils didn’t fall straight; who once asked her mom why there weren’t a lot of little brown girls in TV commercials, knowing a generation of girls will grow up seeing women breaking the mold of what is traditionally seen as beautiful thrust in the face of society makes me feel good. And it should make you feel good, too.


Beyoncé Exclusive: Watch the Official Video for “Pretty Hurts”

The TIME 100 cover subject makes an epic statement on the nature of beauty


Beyoncé graces the cover of this year’s TIME 100 issue and she’s made TIME.com the first official outlet to show her “Pretty Hurts” video. The latest clip from her fifth, self-titled studio album strives to explore the definition of pretty. Starting today, Beyoncé asks you to join the conversation. How do you define pretty? Upload a photo or video to Instagram tagged #WhatIsPretty that captures what the word means to you. Visit WhatIsPretty.com for additional details.

TIME beauty

This Hilarious Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Ad Parody Will Change How You Look in the Mirror

You're beautiful the way you are. Really. Seriously, though.

If you’ve ever seen a Dove ‘Real Beauty‘ ad, or even just looked in a mirror, you must watch this amazing parody by Above Average Productions, a comedy network that’s associated with Saturday Night Live‘s Lorne Michaels.

It ends with the kicker, “You fell for our weird psychology experiment, and it showed you you’re not actually a hideous monster. So where’s our Nobel Peace Prize or whatever?”

You’re welcome. Now go about your day, you hideous gorilla.

[h/t AdAge]



TIME beauty

This is the Weird Thing Women Are Doing to Their Eyebrows

Cropped studio shot of beautiful young woman with eyes closed Cultura/Leland Bobbe—Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RM

It's time to put those tweezers down

We’re officially obsessed with hair. But instead of talking about ways of getting rid of hair—don’t pretend you didn’t read about society reaching “Peak Beard or debate the politics of the full-bush Brazilian—we’ve started to talk about adding follicles to our faces.Women are now paying for eyebrow transplants to refresh foreheads that previously resembled plucked chickens, in the hopes of channelling their inner Brooke Shields and sporting bigger, fuller brows. And they don’t trust an eyebrow pencil to do the trick.

Harper’s Bazaar spoke to Dr. Robert Dorin, a NYC Hair Restoration Specialist (because yes, this is 2014 and that is a real thing), about the “technically-demanding procedure.” While Dorin says he has been performing the procedure for 12 years, he’s noticed an uptick in demand recently. He says the permanent procedure, which is meant to jumpstart growth and can take up to 10-12 months for a full renewal, is often requested by women who have over-groomed, along with a number of other reasons.

The rise of the full brow, which has been dubbed the “Power Brow” by news outlets like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, is no shock. In fact, let’s just call it the Cara Delevingne effect. The British model of the moment is everywhere, alongside fellow bushy-browed beauties like Lily Collins and Kate Upton. Even Michelle Obama was spotted with fuller follicles earlier this year. Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga may have gone full bleach recently, but both pop stars often pose with dark brows in contrast to their platinum locks. In 2012, Dr. Jeffrey Epstein told the New York Post that women are paying up to $8,000 for “the Megan,” an eyebrow style inspired by starlet Megan Fox, so it’s fair to say that this trend has been on the make for quite awhile.

Every few years, the fashion and beauty industries announce an eyebrow revolution after several years of overplucking. Just think of the 1990s, which were full of sex symbols like Gwen Stefani and Pamela Anderson, who tweezed their brows into oblivion. So it’s plausible to think that in a year or two, we’ll be back to Drew Barrymore levels. Either way, we’ll be talking about it. Because if eyes are the windows to our souls, eyebrows are the very important curtains.

TIME beauty

Human Ken and Human Barbie: Destroying Our Girlhood Dreams One Interview at a Time

Justin Jedlica who lives in New York is a real life "Ken" from the other half of Barbie and Ken.
Justin Jedlica who lives in New York is a real life "Ken" from the other half of Barbie and Ken. Jae Donnelly—The Sun/NI Syndication/Redux

The 9-year-old Barbie obsessive in me just died a little.

Justin Jedlica, the so-called Human Ken doll who reportedly spent $150,000 on cosmetic surgery to look like Barbie’s plastic beau, is once again making it clear that he is no fan of Valeria Lukyanova, often referred to as “Human Barbie” because of her obsession with making herself look like the famous doll. In an interview with GQ, which recently ran a detailed (and weird) profile on the Ukrainian model, Human Ken recalls the moment he met Human Barbie.

And unfortunately for the inner Barbie-girl in us all, the two did not ride off in a hot pink convertible into the burnt orange Malibu sunset, giggling and canoodling while planning to purchase a three-story townhouse replete with photos of the two in silicone harmony. No, Human Ken was not impressed.

Though he calls Valeria a “cute girl,” he compares her to a drag queen and wonders why people care about her. (Author’s note: I’m trying to figure out why any of us care about either of them).

“I don’t really get her,” Jedlica told GQ. “I don’t get why people think she’s so interesting. She has extensions. She wears stage makeup. She’s an illusionist.”

Jedlica then went into detail about his plans for creating an “artistic muscle-augmentation-implant line” for all the little boys and girls out there who too dream of one day looking just as plastic. But hopefully, for the sake of humanity, those are few and far between.



TIME beauty

Is the ‘Human Barbie’ Sexy? A GQ Writer On Meeting the Real-Life Doll

'Real-Life Barbie Doll' or Photoshop Hoax?
Photo showing Valeria Lukyanova. The image is most likely manipulated. Whitehotpix/ZumaPress

GQ's Michael Idov's sensitive profile reveals his surprising reaction to the young woman who looks like she stepped out of a graphic novel

The world has had a bit of a morbid fascination with the so-called Human Barbie doll Valeria Lukyanova since Youtube videos detailing her transformation went viral in 2012. And when the twenty-something Ukrainian model, a spitting image of the ageless, inhumanly proportioned fashion doll, began speaking to U.S. publications about her looks (and denying they were achieved through plastic surgery) we listened, albeit often in disgust.

And we’re still listening, thanks to a recent GQ article that tells Lukyanova’s story and reveals her contradictory beliefs about marriage, beauty and race. In the piece she sounds empowered, racist and just plain strange all at once. But perhaps the most fascinating part of the profile is the revealing way the author of the piece, GQ’s Michael Idov, describes his reaction to meeting “Barbie” in person. Here is “ideal” beauty come to fruition, and according Idov, it’s both transfixing and disturbing.

“Evolution has taught us to think of big eyes as beautiful—it’s a so-called neotenous feature, implying youth—but tweak that delicate scale just a little and you’ve got a wraith, or an insect. A living Barbie is automatically an Uncanny Valley Girl. Her beauty, though I hesitate to use the term, is pitched at the exact precipice where the male gaze curdles in on itself. Her features are the features we men playfully ascribe to ideal women; it’s how we draw them in manga and comics and video games. Except we don’t expect them to comply with this oppressive fantasy so fully. As a result, she almost throws our idea of a supervixen back in our face.”

Idov,who is the editor of GQ Russia, has quite eloquently laid out what feminists have been trying to make clear forever: a slender, doe-eyed, big-chested vixen—the “golden mean,” as Valeria so eloquently puts it— is actually pretty terrifying in real life. This doesn’t mean that women from Valeria’s home base of Odessa, Ukraine to Los Angeles will stop striving for an impossible standard of beauty, but it’s perhaps a reality check on what men really find attractive.

TIME celebrities

Lupita Nyong’o Becomes New Face of Lancôme

Lupita Nyong'o attends the European Premiere of "Twelve Years A Slave" during the 57th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon Leicester Square on October 18, 2013 in London,
Lupita Nyong'o attends the European Premiere of "Twelve Years A Slave" during the 57th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon Leicester Square on October 18, 2013 in London, Mike Marsland—WireImage/Getty Images

The 31-year-old Academy Award winner for 12 Years A Slave lands her first big endorsement as the face of the French luxury brand, saying she's proud to push the idea that "beauty shouldn't be dictated," but rather be "an expression of a woman's freedom to be herself"

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o’s breakout year just keeps getting better. The 31-year-old actress is the new face of Lancôme cosmetics, becoming the first black ambassador for the French luxury brand.

“I am truly honored to join the Maison Lancôme, a brand with such a prestigious history that I have always loved. I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself,” Nyong’o said in a statement.

Lancôme is Nyong’o’s first major endorsement deal since nabbing the Academy Award for best supporting actress in early March for her role in 12 Years a Slave. She joins a host of other famed Oscar-winning actresses as ambassadors for the brand, including Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz, and Kate Winslet. According to USA Today, her ads will begin appearing this summer.

TIME health

Biggest Loser Winner Rachel Frederickson Finally Finds Her Perfect Weight

The Biggest Loser - Season 15
Rachel Frederickson on The Biggest Loser finale on Feb. 4th at 105 pounds Trae Patton—NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

After fans accused the reality show of pushing the winner too far, Frederickson has gained 20 pounds and says she's finally happy with her body

Fans gasped when they saw Rachel Frederickson’s new body on the finale of The Biggest Loser in February: the winner of the reality competition show had dropped 60 percent of her body weight and looked disturbingly thin to some viewers. Many of them took to social media to complain that the show had pushed Frederickson too far. The star even admitted afterwards that she may have gotten “a little too enthusiastic” in her training.

But now almost two months after the show’s finale, the 24-year-old voice actress had gained 20 pounds. She told Us Weekly that she’s thrilled with her now bod: “I think I’m at my perfect weight!”

When 5’4″ Frederickson completed the show on Feb. 4, her weight was at 105, and her BMI was 18.0—below what is considered “healthy” by doctors. According to the World Health Organization, anyone under an 18.5 BMI is underweight, and fashion industries in Israel, Madrid and Milan have banned models under that BMI.

Frederickson looked stick thin on the show, and even The Biggest Loser trainers looked stunned by Frederickson’s fragile frame. She told People that she worked out for six hours every day and was eating a 1,600 calories-per-day diet before the finale.

But nowadays she’s looking healthier. Frederickson, who began the show at 260 pounds, now weighs 125 pounds, putting her BMI at 21.5. A healthy BMI spans from 18.5 to 24.99, according to the World Health Organization.

She says that she’s been keeping in shape since the show ended. “”I work out an hour, six days a week. I love classes like SoulCycle,” she said. “I also loosely count calories, but sometimes I might eat an Oreo. It’s not the end of the world.”

[Us Weekly]

TIME beauty

Watch this Plus-Size Woman Strut Down Hollywood Boulevard in a Bikini

She wants to change the entertainment industry's perception of larger women

One curvy woman stripped down on Hollywood Boulevard to protest the way L.A. thinks about bodies.

Amani Terrell, who weighs 260 lbs, strutted down Hollywood Boulevard in a brightly colored bikini to prove she has nothing to hide.

“You cannot seek validation from other people. The world is very cruel,” Terrell told Fox43. “You must seek validation within yourself and be kind to yourself.”

She also says she’s trying to fight the idea that bigger women always feel bad about their bodies. “There’s a misconception that big women have low self-esteem. I don’t have low self-esteem.”


TIME beauty

Not-So-Flawless: Lorde Protests Photoshopping

Self-proclaimed feminist Lorde joins the re-touching celebrity photos debate by tweeting a real picture of herself, acne and all.

Lorde joined the celebrity debate over retouching photos on Sunday. The 17-year-old singer Tweeted pictures from her Sunday concert to her fans—one that had been retouched to make her skin look flawless and another un-retouched photo revealing traces of acne. Though Lorde didn’t make it clear whether a media outlet or fan retouched the top photo, she took the opportunity to express her preference for the real version.

It’s been a controversial year for Photoshop. Mindy Kaling defended her “Women in Television” Elle cover, which hid her curves while showing off the bodies of Zooey Deschanel, Allison Williams and Amy Poehler on alternate covers. Lena Dunham stood up for her lightly retouched Vogue photo spread after Jezebel offered $10,000 for un-retouched version, expecting that there would be a more dramatic difference between the before and after shots than there was. American Eagle launched an anti-photoshopping campaign. And Target had to apologize for a hilariously bad thigh gap photo.

It’s no surprise that Lorde, whose breakout song “Royals” scoffed at the traditional trappings of wealth and celebrity, comes down on the side of anti-Photoshop in this debate. Lorde has posted pictures of herself with acne cream on before.

Plus, she’s slammed celebrities for creating a too-perfect persona and capitalizing on anti-feminist lyrics. She has said of Lana Del Rey’s songs, “[I]t’s so unhealthy for girls to be listening to, you know, ‘I’m nothing without you.’ This sort of shirt-tugging, desperate ‘don’t leave me’ stuff. That’s not a good thing for young girls, even young people, to hear.”

She had a similar critique of Selena Gomez’s hit “Come and Get It”: “I’m a feminist and the theme of her song is, ‘When you’re ready, come and get it from me.’ I’m sick of women being portrayed this way.”

And back in October, Lorde reportedly said, “Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think that’s breeding anything good in young girls.” This was of course before the two made amends and became BFF.

Still, Lorde seems set on being a feminist role model for young girls—and that begins with an anti-Photoshopping stance.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser