'Beauty shoots past your imperfections'

Candice Christians has changed the lives of many "not so beautiful individuals".

She is of the opinion that beauty is after all in the eye of the beholder, and that everyone is beyond beautiful.

Her online blog You Are Phenomenal graduated into the Beauty Beyond Imperfections fashion show which took place in Cape Town last weekend.

It was an all-inclusive show consisting of both men and women of all races and sizes.

While some were in wheelchairs, others with different diseases such as cancer, kidney ailments, lupus as well as conspicuous scars, walked the ramp proudly in designer clothing.

Some were in tears.

Christians says she started her motivational blog in 2016 in the hope to uplift, motivate and inspire other women.

"By sharing my innermost feelings, thoughts and stories with them, I got lots of feedback saying how they relate, feel motivated and inspired by the things I wrote. This made me realise that there was a need for a place where women can come together and share their personal stories in the hope to motivate others. You Are Phenomenal was birthed. In March 2018 I started it as a women empowerment movement and later that year I decided to turn it into an NPO," says Christians.

She says when she was 20 years old she had a hoop earring ripped out of her ear by a baby, causing her ear lobe to split.

"I was very conscious about it as a young girl. And now it took me back to that time and I wondered what other people felt like who are suffering from bigger things than me," she says proudly.

She invested R25,000 of her own money to make the dream happen.

Christians says for many years the beauty and fashion industry looked past people suffering from illnesses, diseases and imperfections.

"Forgetting that these people are also consumers of clothing and other products. I wanted to showcase that there is beauty in imperfection and that it's okay to be different while putting more emphasis on the model than on the designer because the models are the ones that sells clothes."

She says the models' stories touched her personally.

"Jade Wygaard has cancer and gave birth to two healthy children while undergoing therapy. Luke Jacobs was in a coma for weeks after a traumatic accident and has scars on his forehead and arms to prove it. Ibtisaam Bassier woke up one morning when she was just 12 years old and couldn't walk anymore. Juivenere Sing White suffers from kidney disease and has been waiting for a donor for almost three years now.," says Christians.

The show featured 13 local designers including plus-size swimwear designer Tracey Rass of So Extra.

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