“Beauty is not being perfect, but accepting and loving something exactly how it’s meant to be.” -Ella, AHP Senior 2023
Project Beauty 2023
2023 marks the fifth year that the AHP Model Team has participated in the Project Beauty Campaign! That’s 5 years’ worth of young women who have had the chance to see themselves through a new lens. 5 years’ worth of girls who have shared their words along with thousands of other seniors all across the country, united in the same goal! Project Beauty holds a special place in my heart for this reason. It gives a platform to these beautiful girls to project their voices on a subject matter they face every day. Because who knows better than high school girls the social pressure to be perfect? Each year that we shoot this campaign, I discover new reasons to love it. And each year, the girls blow me away with their compassion, vulnerability, and honesty.
What is Project Beauty?
Project Beauty was started in 2017 by Cincinnati photographer, Thomas Nguyen. His goal was to transform the definition of beauty as it applies to high school teens by emphasizing their natural beauty in place of the curated images they are so used to seeing. Long before the internet was invented, we had beauty ideals spread in print and film that pressured women to look and act in certain ways. But that long form of media was nothing compared to what teens and young adults face now. Today, that pressure is multiplied by ever-present social media and ever-changing trends. In a world full of comparisons and competition, it is our job to create a new trend: loving yourself exactly as you are! That’s what #Project Beauty is all about. You can read more on Project Beauty here, and find out why the movement continues year after year.
The Most Authentic You
If you have seen a project beauty campaign before, you probably noticed the characteristic black and white portraits. As part of the shoot, it is our goal to let the girls present their most authentic selves. This means no makeup, no nail polish, no shoes, and no color. Simple, black and white outfits for black and white portraits. Letting their natural beauty speak for itself. The girls get comfortable being vulnerable in front of the camera so that they can take that same confidence into their life. Because the more we show up authentically as ourselves, the more we permit others to do the same. And that’s beautiful!
How AHP Seniors Define Beauty
A foundational part of this campaign is allowing seniors to define beauty by their own standards. When teens are given the freedom to speak up and express what is beautiful to them, it takes the power away from those trying to define beauty for them, those trying to make them feel inadequate in their own skin. So we asked the girls, “What does beauty mean to you?” And as always, their answers were perfect. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find their responses next to a selection of their Project Beauty portraits. A celebration of beauty, in their own words, in their own handwriting, and in every one of their photos. I couldn’t be more proud of the Model Team for being a part of this campaign! And even more, as I see them take this message into their day-to-day interactions with each other. I can’t wait to see what Project Beauty 2024 has in store!
Each month, the AHP Model Team gets to be a part of a photography shoot all for them! Whether it is Spring flowers, a NYE party bash, or an In the Box shoot, the girls are always trying new things and more importantly, gaining confidence in front of the camera! If you want to be a part of the Class of 2024 for an unforgettable senior year experience, send a message my way! You can reach me on our AHP Seniors Instagram, or send me a message on my website! I can’t wait to hear from you!