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Kansas City Woman's Project On Beauty Standards Goes Viral

This week, KCUR freelancer Esther Honig had a giant shock when her project Before & After, a cross-cultural examination of beauty, went viral.

Honig sent an unaltered image of herself to freelance graphic artists in more than 25 countries and asked them to perform one task: make her beautiful. The result is more than 40 images that together tell a complex story of global standards of beauty. And the response has been enormous.

Credit estherhonig.com
Original, unaltered photograph of Honig.

Since the original article was published on the popular social website Buzzfeed, Honig has given interviews to the Huffington Post, Vice and Elle magazine, to name a few.

"It's really a weird experience to look at these altered and transformed images of your own face," Honig told KCUR.

She said that she didn't think such a small-scale project necessarily said something about beauty in these different countries, but were very personal concepts of beauty.

"Photoshop symbolizes standards of unobtainable beauty, but when we take those standards and we look at them on a global scale, that concept of the unobtainable becomes all the more elusive, because it's different everywhere you go," Honig said.

A California native, Briana comes to KCUR by way of KMUW in Wichita, Kan. and KUSP in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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