What does it mean to be beautiful?
In a project titled “Before and After”, Esther Honig sparked a global conversation on beauty ideals. The results were both positive and negative, and may have left more questions than it answered. Recorded at TEDxVancouver at Rogers Arena on November 14, 2015.
What does it mean to be beautiful? In the spring of 2014, journalist, Esther Honig embarked on an unconventional social experiment. She sent her image to 50 strangers around the world and asked that they use photoshop to “make her beautiful.” The results sparked a worldwide conversation around beauty ideals and globalization, before taking an unexpected twist.
On June 24, 2014, the project went viral and was featured on Buzzfeed, TIME, The Atlantic, CNN International, Good Morning America, The Today Show and many other prominent media properties. It wasn’t long before her face had become a public domain, shanghaied by marketers and bottomfeeder publications. In order to take back the narrative surrounding her project, and her identity, she had to relinquish ownership, confront the criticisms and allow her project to take on a life of its own.
Esther was born in San Francisco, but now resides in Kansas City, Missouri. She lived abroad in Mexico City before she attended Mills College and graduated with her BA in Latin American studies. She is a bilingual, journalist whose work has been recognized by international awards and publications across the US. In her reporting Esther focuses on midwestern Latino communities, on topics such as health, education and immigration.