Image Source: Getty / Jamie McCarthyG
Julia Michaels is tired of the unrealistic beauty standards the media puts forth, so she's doing something about it. At the end of August, the singer announced via Instagram that she's starting a monthly digital magazine cover titled "You" highlighting the beauty in differences among people.
With this new project, Michaels's goal is to show her fans that they're beautiful just the way they are and that they don't need to change to fit in with outdated beauty ideals; that the standards need to change to include them.
"We live in a society where only the perfect parts of you are shown, and if you don't think you have perfect parts, you have to make perfect parts," Michaels told POPSUGAR. "I want people to know that stretch marks are beautiful. Freckles are beautiful. Crooked teeth are beautiful. Body hair is beautiful. Scars are beautiful."
The idea to start her own digital cover to highlight real beauty came to her after having a revelation about the societal norms she has conformed to. "It kind of started with my armpits," Michaels said. While traveling in Paris, she forgot a razor, which led to her armpit hair growing out. "When I got home, I shaved, and I was like, 'I don't like this. Why don't I like this?'" That's when she made the decision to stop removing the hair under her arms.
Still, her decision wasn't met without some pushback. Unfortunately, she received numerous unsolicited comments from people on the internet projecting their feelings onto her body, like after her Grammys red carpet appearance with unshaved armpits. That experience, plus countless more with targeted beauty ads and unattainable images in the media, made her think about how much pressure is put on people to change themselves and conform to societal standards.
Image Source: Courtesy of Julia Michaels by Raen Badua
That — plus the thousands of photos her fans post every month on the 13th to the hashtag #gorgeousgems sharing what they love about themselves — ultimately sparked the idea for her.
"You" is still very much in the beginning formative stages, but Michaels is excited to see this passion project "shape up into something really beautiful." Because she wants to highlight her fans, she'll be taking submissions for the cover photo each month via an online form. "We didn't realize that we were going to get so many submissions and so many people wanting to share their stories, which was just amazing and overwhelming," Michaels said. More details are to come, but so far, her team has already received over 5,000 submissions.
"I'm hoping to just normalize individuality — people's own understanding of themselves and their OK-ness with themselves," she said. "I even have a hard time finding OK-ness within myself, and I just want to inspire young people to find that, too."