Priscilla Yuki Wilson is a woman on a mission. The journalist embarked upon an intriguing project to see how beauty standards and conventions across the globe vary, especially when applied to someone who is biracial.
As a woman who is African American and Japanese, Wilson describes how she struggled with fitting in with contemporary society’s conventional standards. She grew up being constantly subject to the question, “What are you?” which she believes regularly influences how she experiences the world.
Growing up, her Japanese mother would tell her to wear sunblock and stay out of the sun to avoid getting “too dark,” as society proclaimed fairer skin was better, yet with her father being black, Wilson was left confused by her paradoxical situation.
Wilson’s experiment involved her sending an unedited picture of herself to Photoshop editors from more than 25 countries with the request to "make me beautiful."
Is this all sounding a tad familiar? Well your feeling of déjà vu is correct. Earlier this year, freelance journalist Esther Honig - who is also Wilson's friend - started the first ‘Before and After’ project, in the hopes of discovering what makes someone ‘beautiful.’ After following the same procedure as Wilson with the same request, Honig received a wide variety of results, ranging from lightening her pale skin to giving her a full blown makeover, fake eyelashes and all.
The project went viral and got a lot of us talking about how different cultures across the world project unattainable expectations of what is beautiful, and Photoshop is the tool used to create and display these beauty standards.
Argentina Image: Esther Honig
Commenting on her findings, Wilson said, “In contrast to Honig’s results, where her face became a canvas to express more than a dozen contrasting beauty standards, I found that my face actually challenged the application of Photoshop in this instance. “
Many of the edits have completely altered Wilson’s skeletal structure, either giving her an instant nose job, face lift or even changing the shape of her eyes, ultimately making Wilson look nothing like her natural self. “I am living in a culture that’s still adjusting to my kind of face,” she explains. “As biracial women there is no standard of beauty or mould that can easily fit my face.”
See Wilson’s collection of Photoshopped images below:
Priscilla Yuki Wilson Original Picture
The United Kingdom
Images: Priscilla Yuki Wilson