Over the past few years, both the beauty and fashion industries have improved somewhat in its approach to representing women (and men) of different shapes, sizes, and colors — even on the runway. The situation is nowhere near perfect, of course, but it is better. Yet there’s still one thing that tends to get left out of the narrative, and it’s one of the most beauty maladies, from which no one is immune.
Models (as we often see them) do not get zits, and if they do, they’re concealed so thoroughly, we’d never even know. They may claim that they get breakouts, in backstage interviews and lengthy magazine features once they’ve made it big, but we never see the receipts. Then, one keen-eyed Reddit user spotted something we hadn’t at the Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter show back in February: Among the 140 people, models and otherwise, who walked the runway, one had acne. Acne! Can you believe it?
The non-model in question is Starlie Smith, one-quarter of the West Coast-cool band The Atomics. Her brother is actual model Lucky Blue Smith, who captured the hearts of America via Instagram back in 2015, and she’s not exactly your average millennial. (As in, she and her siblings are both ridiculously good-looking and social media-famous.) But even so, Starlie’s lovely mug, pimples and all, is earning lots of attention online for the acne-positive message she inadvertently took part in. It’s true: Being beautiful and having acne are not mutually exclusive.
The runway isn’t the only place where Starlie has been forthcoming about her breakouts, and made her hundreds of thousands of fans feel better about their own struggles in the process. She shared the same sentiment on her Instagram more recently with a makeup-free photo, captioned, “WHO CARES IF YOU HAVE ACNE YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.”
As an influencer, Starlie has a unique opportunity to teach her followers that having imperfect skin doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you — and she's doing it right.
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