As a child raised with the concept of beauty in my immediate surroundings, I obsessively dissected fashion magazines, hoping to find affiliation with an iconic woman. Perhaps it was American celebrity culture or my insecurities, or a mixture of both, but I found a little bit of ease with some of my physical features upon discovering Devon Aoki.
I remember the above November 1988 issue of VOGUE well; somehow I acquired it in the late ’90s. It wasn’t until college while interning at Condé Nast that I came upon it, again. And when I looked at this cover, then, I realized how much I liked it. It had nothing to do with personal affiliation and everything to do with modern beauty. An Israeli model, a little post-vacation belly, candid pose… it was the “different,” the “imperfect,” that encapsulated confidence and pure happiness.
I no longer turn to fashion magazines for reassurance concerning my physical attributes, but I still find it weirdly thrilling when I see a photograph of a person (or better yet, when I meet a person) who exudes confidence and happiness. To me—in the human physical sense—that defines modern beauty.