Beautiful Minds Share Their View Of Beauty

Conversations with a unique group of people, exploring their views on beauty.

By Charlotte Carson and Erica Commisso

Photos By Shin Sugino; Make-up by Brodine, Judy Inc; Hair by Kevin Smith, Judy Inc.

We see thousands of faces every day: walking by us on the street, standing in front of us in the Starbucks line and driving by us on the highway. In the silence of our own minds or amongst our inner circles, we judge the nameless faces we pass by. We never attach a name, a personality, or a second thought. But why? Why are we judging the people around us, based solely on their image? Every person has a unique story, a unique genetic composition, and a unique set of circumstances that led them to being the person before us. Unless we ask, we never know who they are. We only judge. Every day, people are judged and hated for being homosexual, for being transgender, for being another race, for being different from somebody’s classification of “normal.” People are brutalized, tortured, disrespected and mistreated by people who are just as different as they are. People commit suicide, live with depression and suffer from anxiety because they are made to feel like they don’t fit in to a society made up of many different personality types. Why is their breed of different not okay? They contribute something to the world that others cannot. Why is a 25-year old model considered beautiful, but not an 80-year old woman with laugh lines from living a long, happy life? ACCEPTANCE is beautiful. DIVERSITY is beautiful. LIFE is beautiful, no matter who is living it. We are all beautiful.

WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF BEAUTY?
JEFF: “Making people feel special in your presence.”
HITOMI: “Purity and collaboration of more than two individuals.”
EVAN: “Having a code (that involves being kind and giving one another the benefit of the doubt) and sticking to it.”
LAURA: “Passionate authenticity. I find beauty in those that choose to be as real as possible.”
TANYA: “Being the most authentic and living life from your heart — that is absolute beauty.
SETH: “To be sure of who you are and to be as confident as you can be, no matter what.” ANASTASIYA: “Confidence and passion about life.”

WHAT’S BEAUTIFUL ABOUT YOU?
MICHAEL: “Every line on my face that I made from laughing.”
TYLER: “Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian household, everyone wrestled with my hair – includ- ing me, until the last few years. Now I just accept it and let it do what it’s going to do!”
LAURA: “My joy, my honesty. I am working on finding my oddities beautiful.”
TANYA: “I wear my heart on my sleeve, I am a complete tomboy and I live life without regrets so it shows on the outside.”
ANASTASIYA: “My drive. I was able to succeed in this country and in my field, against the odds.” 

WHAT’S BEAUTIFUL ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
MICHAEL: “I came from nothing, and from nothing I made this great life filled with love and lots of laughter.”
EVAN: “I’ve got a wonderful person to share it with and, whenever I can, I like to go outside with her and appreciate this physical world in which we live.
Our dog is also super cute and I’ve been fortunate enough to get out and see a good chunk of the planet…. I’m keen to keep seeing more of it.”
SETH: “I love the beautiful souls that I have in my life. I truly believe that they reflect onto me. And I choose to live beautiful.”

WHO INSPIRES YOU?
EVAN: “I also like anyone who is chasing their dreams and, preferably, succeeding.”
ANASTASIYA: “My parents. They made so many sacrifices for my brother and I to have a better life.” JEFF: “Fearless artists, pacifist revolutionaries, my mom and my kids, Isabel and Adrian.”

WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE?
MICHAEL: “Unmatched drive and the determination. Some find it exhausting…”
EVAN: “I’ve got pretty good eyebrows. Like, not Cara Delevingne level, but pretty solid in my own estimation. I’m also a good listener. My hearing is pretty crap, though. They’re different.” ANASTASIYA: “I have lived in more places than I can count, so my experience is what makes me unique.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES THE WORLD A GREAT PLACE?
MICHAEL: “The humanity ability for compassion, and my wife.”
JEFF: “The beauty of stillness. The possibility of change. The moral courage of strangers.”
SETH: “Having faith and focusing on the beauty that the world brings us.”
ANASTASIYA: “Diversity. There are still so many places and countries left to explore.”
EVAN: “The Earth is an amazing complex place, filled with more wonder than most of us will ever come close to understanding. Taking the time to be out in that world, swimming in the sea, walking through the woods, sliding downhill through the snow, sitting, listening, watching… that is, short of becoming a physicist and actually making the mysteries of how it all works more knowable, the best way many of us can honour this place we live in. People can be great, too, but there is a tremendous amount of pressure on us to not wipe ourselves out and a lot of very smart people are worried we won’t be able to pull it off. I think, as Ellen says to close her show, being kind to one another is about as much as we can really ask of our neighbours.”