Why Being Unconventionally Attractive Pays Off

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," as the saying goes, and this rings true when one considers the wide assortment of physical traits or characteristics that make up an individual's appearance. We have the natural phenomenon of genetic variation to thank for all the unique combinations of facial features that we observe across the globe. However, as far as beauty standards are concerned, every culture values different characteristics and certain traits have long been associated with being more or less physically attractive.

Contrary to popular belief, distinct physical characteristics often enhance one's allure and create a more memorable impression on others than those who adhere to more conventional beauty standards. We can look to a long list of celebrities for proof that even Hollywood values unconventional beauty — and the world is catching up. For instance, celebrities such as Tilda Swinton, Anjelica Huston, Paz de la Huerta, Winnie Harlow, and Maya Rudolph make perfect examples of stunning beings with facial features that both defy and transcend conventional beauty standards. These A-list celebrities lack the typical or generic features that society generally labels "beautiful," and yet each of them is undeniably attractive. 

Those considered unconventionally attractive are often subjected to unfair comparisons due to unrealistic beauty standards. More often than not, these individuals learn to feel ashamed of the physical traits that make them unique, instead of being encouraged to embrace their natural beauty the way they should. 

What does it mean to be unconventionally attractive?

Beauty cannot — and should not — be defined in concrete or limited terms. Instead, beauty is an abstract concept that shifts and transforms depending on culture, individual preference, situation, etc. As cheesy as it may be, the truth remains that beauty takes on many forms and there is no set standard. If you're often perceived as unconventionally attractive, it's important to alter the narrative and understand that this label doesn't equate to ugliness. It simply means you don't have the features that society usually considers attractive, such as face symmetry or a proportionally small waist. But in reality, those with distinct features are made equally — if not more — alluring by the very traits that classify them as unconventionally attractive.

Consider, for instance, celebs such as Tilda Swinton, whose androgynous looks and ethereal characteristics lend her a type of beauty that cannot be easily defined. One would assume that minuscule features and razor-sharp cheekbones fit into these clear-cut standards, yet they amount to a different result. Instead, her unusual looks surpass the desired effect and captivate the eye simply by being different when observed all on one canvas.

Similarly, someone like Anjelica Huston displays a certain magnetism that you don't typically see with more subtle features — enough to land her as the face of major cosmetics campaigns like Gucci's Bloom. The prominent bone structure and aquiline nose are reminiscent of an ancient beauty typically observed in historic Roman paintings. However, her otherworldly appearance doesn't necessarily align with modern standards, by any means. Nevertheless, Huston is considered a classic beauty icon who exhibits poise and innate confidence that sets her apart from the rest.

The perks of being unconventionally attractive

There are many benefits of being attractive while having unconventional traits and features. A unique physical appearance is immeasurably compelling and gives you a higher degree of presence than one may assume, for one. A 2014 study published in Neuropsychologia revealed that attractive faces without distinct features are more difficult to remember. We see this phenomenon occurring in reverse with models who exhibit peculiar or uncommon looks, such as tooth gaps, freckles, facial scars, or large noses. These individuals exude greater personality and individuality with little to no effort, and it works in their favor by drawing in your attention. 

What's more, modern trends allow more freedom in the way people choose to express themselves, and this carries into everyday beauty practices — or "anti-beauty" practices, to be more accurate. This new anti-beauty trend releases us from conventional beauty standards by encouraging people to step away from traditional or subdued looks, replacing them with bold makeup, fun hair colors, and eye-catching facial piercings. After all, one of the top TikTok trends of 2023 was #uglybeauty, which promoted challenges to conventional beauty standards. This could be why we're seeing an increasing number of people spending hours enhancing common or indistinct features to stand out from the crowd, such as bleaching their eyebrows. Meanwhile, those with naturally distinct features simply #wokeuplikethis. As the younger generations continue to push the boundaries of "pretty," there's never been a better time to embrace your unconventional looks.