It’s always a little exciting when you come across an "unconventional" woman. One who instills the will to be completely comfortable in your own skin by doing things the way she sees fit, and proving that you can, too. She gives off this quiet sort of strength; one that only comes from enjoying the woman that you’ve grown to be.
Thoughts of a feminist Katharine Hepburn come to mind, where I could just see her moving across the room in her high-waisted trousers, hair in perfect waves as she shoots sharp quips at a handsome suit buying her a Manhattan. Or images of fearless Rookie Magazine editor Tavi Gevinson sprout up, where I can imagine her walking down the street in New York, bob dyed grey and wearing a cocoon tapestry coat and frilly white socks with chunky heels. Channeling her best granny chic as she makes her way down to the grocery store. Or Iris Apfel, with her wild jewelry and her vibrant red lips, piling on just one more — okay fine, two more — bangles as she smiles at her reflection by her front door before heading out.
What do all these women have in common? They’re quietly brave. They’re completely weird. And totally, unbearably beautiful. They’re absolutely comfortable in their skin and move in a way that hints that they don’t care if you’re watching. And they have this light. This confident, happy light that reveals that they love who they are because it took some time and patience to become them.
It’s hard not to want to blend in with the rest of the group rather than stand out, and it takes some practice getting used to the person you are. We all get a little shy when we share our quirks and eccentricities, but the important thing is to not confuse those quirks as something bad. They’re what make us beautiful and memorable. And we should all find the strength to highlight them rather than bury them.
Saying it is one thing, but doing it is a whole other order, amiright? In order to find the courage to be ourselves, a girl has to have a few role models to look up to. We need strong, unconventional women that show there isn’t only one version of beauty.
Looking for inspiration, I asked six style bloggers who their unconventional beauty role models are, and why they loved 'em.
1. Cee From Coco & Vera: Charlotte Rampling
"My unconventional beauty role model is Charlotte Rampling — an icon in the swinging 60s, Charlotte has always chosen to use her brains, not just to her natural beauty, to challenge conceptions of women, particularly as those conceptions relate to sexual freedom. Now in her seventies, Charlotte has chosen to age gracefully, without any cosmetic procedures to alter the course of time, while continuing to take on acting roles that are intellectually challenging both for her and for viewers — she has five movies debuting in 2015 and, in my opinions, looks just as beautiful and worthy of style admiration in them as she did in anything she filmed 40 years ago."
2. Jasmin From What Defines Us: Andreja Pejic
"Transgender model Andreja Pejic. Not so much for her wardrobe, but for what she stands for. Andreja was assigned male at birth, but mastered the art of modeling both men’s and womenswear, a talent I’m incredibly fascinated by and wished would receive more recognition by the big names in the fashion industry. Although I’m a woman through and through, I love getting inspired by androgynous fashion bloggers. Blurring the lines between femininity and masculinity is so important."
3. Chioma From Chioma's Evolution of Style: Solange Knowles
"My unconventional beauty role model would have to be Solange Knowles. She has a very confident, eye catching, and nonconventional personal style. I love that with each look she wears, I can tell she is dressing for herself and to make herself happy. From her voluminous natural hair, to mixing outrageous bright colors and prints, I love everything about her, and in my mind, we are BFFs!"
4. Lisa From Lala Faux Bois: Carrie Brownstein
"I would have to say the Carrie Brownstein is a beauty role model to me. To me, a beauty role model not only needs to have enviable style, but needs to embody all the characteristics of any of my role models — strong, independent, funny, creative powerhouses. She is a bad-ass feminist and natural beauty, with style ranging from the quirky and cute to edgy, with a healthy dose of vintage. Give me her closet and careers please!"
5. Veronika From By The Shore: Maggie Gyllenhaal
"My unconventional role model is without a doubt Maggie Gyllenhaal! Ultimately she's incredibly beautiful but maintains a natural and relatable kind of beauty. She's not overly wrapped up in any Hollywood 'beauty ideals' and her style isn't overly mainstream either.
One of the things I admire most about Maggie's personal style is that she incorporates different eras into her fashion choices (like the '30s and '40s) but does so in an incredibly simple and modern way. She's poised, self assured and her realness always shines through. For me? There's nothing more beautiful or inspiring!"
6. Marlen (Me!) From Messages On A Napkin: Linda Rodin
"With long, silver hair, a refusal to do away with her wrinkles, and a wardrobe that's more on-point than any 26-year-old's I've ever seen, Linda Rodin is my absolute god. At 65, she's appearing at the front row of New York fashion shows, starring in ad campaigns, being cast as the face of prominent fashion houses (like The Row), and all this with a quiet elegance and grace. What I love most about her is that she doesn't really highlight her age. I think she's fabulous because, to me, she represents what it means to age with grace. She doesn't dye her hair, she hasn't touched Botox, and she didn't fade into the background style-wise just because she matured. But to her, she's just being herself. She could be 25 or 60 — there's no difference."