For centuries, conventional beauty has dictated the way we view each other and ourselves. Before the rise of diversity, the world struggled celebrating true individualism — but albino model Connie Chiu helped dispel beauty myths with her one-of-a-kind photos, taken in the early 1990s.
Born in 1969, Chiu was launched into the fashion industry at age 24. She started her career alongside French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, and is widely recognized as the world’s first albino fashion model.
In a recent interview with Allure, she spoke about growing up with the condition: “People want you to feel different. They want you to feel like an outsider. They want you to feel sad,” she said. “But will I give that to them? Of course not!”
According to NOAH, Albinism is “an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes.” Chiu, who grew up in Hong Kong, was told by her parents at a young age she was “different,” with “light-sensitive” skin and eyesight, but that didn’t stop her family from allowing her to feel included.
“In Hong Kong there weren’t many people that looked like me — [I started] to wonder where they all were,” Chiu said. Until one day her older sisters came rushing home from school, bursting excitement: “We saw someone! A girl who liked just like you,” they shouted. “She was all grown up with pale skin and white hair,” Chiu said she felt relieved by the news.
“I thought I’m going to be alright” she recalled. “Just knowing this person was actually walking out and about, seemingly independent, gave me the impression that she wasn’t hiding.
“If she looked like me and she was OK, I told myself I’d be just like her.”
It was this revelation that led to Chiu success as the first albino fashion model. Since then, many have followed in her footsteps to have their work is admired by millions. Click through the gallery for more albino models crushing beauty standards with a rare and stunning edge.
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