A FORMER Uttoxeter school pupil who suffered years of abuse as a plus size model has started a beauty project with the difference.
Natalie Edge-Edwards, who was a pupil of Thomas Alleyne’s High School until July 2004, has set up The Unique Beauty Project with photographer Nick Green.
The 27-year-old will be a familiar face to many due to her modelling career which saw her feature in More!, Pick Me Up, Take 5, Flirt and Full House magazine.
However, she got involved with this project due to her career in front of the camera as she has experienced years of discrimination and abuse as a plus size model.
The project offers a unique insight into beauty by reaching out to people who are seen as different and inviting them to be photographed in ways which may be unconventional and may focus on features which are not always the most obvious.
The aims of the project are to challenge the socially accepted notion of beauty, to show beauty outside conventional parameters, improve self-esteem of participants and acknowledge and accept features which impact on an individual’s self-esteem and self image and demonstrate either that these can contribute to beauty or focus on other features which demonstrate beauty.
Mrs Edge-Edwards, who grew up in Mayfield, said: “In many cases, this might relate to general body image – too big, too small etc.
“However, this might include people experiencing disability, health issues, the consequences of accidents, scars from surgery or those who make specific lifestyle choices – tattoos, piercings, alternative subculture, preferred style of dress, either in public or private, make up etc.
“Essentially, any element of personal appearance with which society may be uncomfortable or find challenging.
“So far, several people have posed for the project – people with a larger figure, mothers with stretch marks, a former soldier who has had a leg amputated, a goth and some who simply don’t feel good about themselves.
“We will soon be working with a group of people with disabilities, transgender people and others who have tattoos to distract attention from their body.
“We are always on the lookout for more participants, and would love to have a wide range of individuals demonstrating that beauty is not about the stereotypical model figure, but exists within every person.”
Mr Green has been a photographer for two years after disability forced him to give up his career in education.
He said he feels strongly about the aims of the project and his years in education have shown him people are developing body hang-ups at an increasingly early age and the consequences of this can be devastating.
All of the pictures are posted on Unique Beauty’s Facebook page and at http://uniquebeautyphoto.wix.com/unque-beuty so that participation in the project can be shared and celebrated.
Currently, the duo are running the project voluntarily and for no personal profit.