If I asked you to define beauty I bet I would get a wide variety of answers. If I then asked you to define what makes you beautiful with respect to physical appearance I’m sure I would get even more.
One college student took the challenge of creating a photo series for a homework assignment to find what women find beautiful about themselves.
Eva Woolridge, a 22-year-old photographer, created her photo series, “Embrace Your Essence,” for a college photography project at the University of Maryland. The last thing Woolridge expected was for her simple project to suddenly go viral but it has definitely shared a deeper message.
Often we as women are hard on ourselves and our body images. The project’s purpose is to help eliminate destructive self-criticism.
“I was surrounded by such beautiful women with such gorgeous souls,” Woolridge told INSIDER. “[But they] sometimes let their light dim because they constantly were trying to fit somebody else’s beauty standards.”
The collection includes women “embracing” anything between their curves, natural hair, birthmarks and even the curves of their feet.
“There’s at least one thing about every single person that’s beautiful, so I think it’s extremely important for women to remind themselves of that beautiful feature,” said Woolridge. “In doing so, can you imagine how much more beautiful the world will be if we did embrace all of [the] essences that make us unique?”
“My best Feature .….Are my ears. Can you hear me? Haha, it is a necessity for me to wear earrings everyday. If not, I feel like I started my day on the wrong foot, and based on how hard I work, being on the wrong foot is not an option.”–Jewel
Beyond the photo is a statement from each model like the one from Jewel above. The one I love the most is the woman named Felicia who unapologetically loves her curves.
“The Essence I Embrace are my curves…I kind of want to be like this all day…just naked.”—Felicia
The photo series has since been viewed over 100,000 times across the web, featured in “Marie Claire” as well as other outlets.
Check out the Embrace Your Essence photo series as well as some of her other work at EW Photography.