P.E.I. teen starts Beauty vs. Industry Facebook group for young people

Mary MacKay
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CHARLOTTETOWN - One P.E.I. teenager is fighting the beauty industry by helping young people to embrace their true magnificence, with all its quirks.

CHARLOTTETOWN - One P.E.I. teenager is fighting the beauty industry by helping young people to embrace their true magnificence, with all its quirks.

Heather Ross, 17, has created a Beauty vs. Industry group on Facebook, asking young people to share what makes them who they are.

It can be good, bad or a mix of both, but first and foremost it has to be real, not what the beauty industry implies that they should be with its intensely advertised messages.

And it seems that Ross's Beauty vs. Industry Facebook group has struck a chord with young people. In little more than a week, membership is almost 300 and the personal picture profiles, featuring the good, the bad and the beautiful in each person, have nearly topped the 40 mark.

"The thing is every time I come back it's just grown a little," says Ross, a Grade 12 student from Dingwells Mills.

"It makes me so excited, not because it's like 'Oh look at how good I am at making people join my group,' it's not about that. It's girls and guys who recognize themselves as beautiful and also it's learning to love yourself."

The idea started when Ross made her own profile for Facebook during the Christmas holidays.

"I just made it because I thought how I really like who I am and other people like who I am. And I thought about people telling me I'm beautiful but it's not because I have tanned skin, blond hair and a double D cup or anything.

"It's something different," she says in her straightforward manner.

"And so I thought about the contrast about what's beautiful and what the industry says is beautiful and expects from beauty."

She bandied the idea of a Facebook group with her friend, Olivia Skagos, who lives in British Columbia.

With her friend onboard, Heather created the Beauty vs. Industry group with their profiles to start with. She invited her friends to join and make profiles of themselves.

"I said, 'You know I think you're beautiful and I don't think it matters what the industry thinks. So if you think you're beautiful you should join and make a profile so that others can see how beautiful they are."'

Others quickly mirrored Ross's honest and humorous approach to her profile.

"Writing it is just a fun experience in itself and I want other people to feel that too. Because just making that little thing, even if you don't show it to anybody, you're still writing it out and you're happy with yourself and that's what I like."

Ross happily thumbs through some of the latest profile additions, including one that reads: "My socks don't match. My shoes are Payless, not Prada but I am happy. I've got people who love me. I'll speak my mind and wear two different socks if I feel like it. I'll play in the rain because I'm not afraid to get my hair wet. I'm happy just the way I am. I am me, NOT the industry."

Geographic location: CHARLOTTETOWN, British Columbia

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