This film is a much needed reminder that beauty comes from within

Filmmaker Curtis Blair’s new short, Beauty is Confidence, is all about self-love

In our current social media era, the pressure to conform to perfection is at its greatest. As we live alongside profiles that celebrate unrealistic and socially constructed perceptions of what is beautiful, it's clear the idea of ‘beauty’ needs a makeover. Filmmaker Curtis Blair’s latest short film, Beauty is Confidence, is both a testament to this and a gentle reminder of how important it is to embrace inner-beauty. His three and a half minute blend of lo-fi and hi-def film flips the understanding of beauty as an appreciation of external aesthetic into an acknowledgement of beauty as an empowerment of one’s internal self. “Beauty is within...Beauty is self-love...Beauty is confidence”, reads the opening line of the film.

Through a bright, kaleidoscopic lens, Beauty is Confidence spotlights five models as they share their personal experiences with the damaging consequences of a beauty as a social construct. “We wanted to make a video to explore beauty standards and the pressure they have on women to look a certain way”, says the film’s stylist Paige Whiting. Eventually, the film explores how each model's experiences have all lead them to understand that true beauty comes from within.  

“I've been mistaken as a boy, multiple times”, says model Lara McGrath as she comments on her experiences with socially enforced archetypes of gender. “Not to say that it's offensive but it obviously reflects the stereotypes that are rooted within society.” For McGrath, beauty can’t be drawn from a fixation on aesthetic. “It's important to have a sense of inner beauty and to obviously not always be fixated on external things.” Artist and model Tiffany Chan, who beams throughout the entire film in front of a yellow backdrop, believes beauty is synonymous with confidence and self-love. “Now especially with social media, you can't help but to compare yourself to others”, she tells the camera. “There's this hyper-perfected version of everyone and we know that it is not a real, accurate representation of people but we still try and retain which is kind of problematic...I think that's what makes you beautiful that you remind yourself of your value inside and outside.”

“...I'm beautiful because I'm confident. I embrace my insecurities” – Vanessa Ohenlen

Vanessa Ohenlen opens up about beauty at the intersection of race, as she recalls her experiences in the fashion industry as a black model. “I always hated my eyes, my skin tone, my hair, my hair texture – because I look at other females and because they're light-skinned, they're going to be more favoured in the industry.” By the end of the film, Ohenlen tells us she is beautiful because of what lies within. “I didn't use to think I was beautiful but yeah, I think I'm beautiful because I'm confident. I embrace my insecurities.”

For a film about inner-beauty, Blair’s subjects appear to be wearing a lot of make-up, but this isn’t without reason. As the clip progresses, the models slowly remove their make-up, as they are left with what looks like paint streaming down their faces: a playful ode to the idea that no one needs a facade to be beautiful.