Beauty Defined

There is a letter that is making its internet rounds right now and it was penned by a then 17-year-old Zooey Deschanel.  And the recipient?  Vogue Magazine.  And let’s just say, she doesn’t hold back.

letter via

It has been 14 years since this letter was written.  Have things changed?  I do believe that we have a wider definition of beauty, but are we still in the business of ‘advocating insecurity’?  Hopefully NoH is inspirational for readers… if it isn’t, what am I doing here?

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via

I love that Zooey Deschanel wrote this letter.  After all, she is the poster child for an un-orthodox beauty.  Her eyes are these fantastically huge blue pools, she has these adorable bangs (inspiration for my own hair!) and she has an offbeat fashion sense.  Even her acting/ singing career is characterized by the perfectly peculiar (including unconventional indie-films and her quirky musical duo).  Did I mention I love her?

photo by Sherly Rabbani & Josephine Solimene via

Photo: Donato Sardella via














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  1. Great post, Alexis, this is a really good find, and I’m glad that people like you are starting conversations! Yes, Zooey is so beautiful. I do think she’s a little unconventional, but that is what beauty is all about!

    I think that bloggers are showing the world what beauty can (and must) be. We aren’t airbrushed, we don’t have sample closets (and furthermore, don’t all fit in sample sizes!! This girl right here!!), yet I believe for this younger generation, fashion bloggers are the inspiration when they go shopping, when they get dressed, when they look in the mirror.

    We are “real girl” fashion, and isn’t that what we’re all hungry for?! Sure an ethereal editorial looks great, and is fun to dream about, but when someone out there is a girl with my proportions, my hair color, with my skin tone, and has no direction/role model, it’s easy for her to get down on herself. Hopefully that girl will be able to find something inspiring about my own blog. I know it was other girls like me that were blogging away… those are the girls that started me on this journey, and I still look up to them today.

    Again, great post Alexis!


  2. Brilliant post! I agree that we still live in a world where beauty is defined by a fairly narrow set of rules! It has certainly affected me as I’ve grown up, and even now in my late 20’s I still feel insecure (that’s why there are no pics of me on my site).

    Thanks for posting this, it has cheered me up!

    Love C x

  3. I love her too, and now even more for writing that letter.

  4. Amazing letter! I’ve always loved Zooey, and she’s right. Why does “beauty” have to be limited within a so-called ideal?

  5. Excellent! I’ve loved her in every film I’ve seen her in. IMO she always steals the show! There is no ideal beauty – it’s truly in the eye of the beholder, cliche perhaps, but true!

  6. Love this! Thanks for posting it! Totally support anyone who stands against status quo.


  7. I absolutely adore Zooey and this letter written by her 14 years ago just adds to that.

    She is right. Magazines especially like Vogue, Cosmo, Glamour and the like place unachievable standards on women. If God forbid you’re not a size 2 or 4 or don’t have perky tatas you’re considered “ugly”.

    Heck, I’ve been the big girl all my life and have dealt with men AND women who say I am undateable and not marriage material because I’m fat and therefore ugly…to them. The sweet justice in those kinds of comments? They’re habitually single and yet I’ve never had a problem finding a man…and I’m now happily married to a wonderful man. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

    Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors and should not be defined by what these magazines think is beautiful. It’s crud like that that perpetuates the cyle of cruelty and insecurity with women of all ages.

  8. Such a great little letter. I love the honesty and the truth, which still and always will hold true. Keep inspiring!

    xo Mary Jo

  9. I love her. I thought instantly the 1st time I saw her which i think either some print add or something like that, that she was fantastically original. I love her in 500 days of summer. I think people who are different than normal are the type of people i associate myself with. Someone doing something different is always better than a bunch of the same old people.

    I think that beauty is still a fickle subject. People are still not ready to accept every ones view of beauty and i think that’s sad. I sometimes forget about the close-mindedness of others because i surround myself with accepting people but once in a while it really does come to my attention flipping through magazines or seeing teenagers on diets and dealing with all sorts of horrible peer pressure from media and their peers. I think some how we have to stop measuring ourselves to others and believe in ourselves 1st then everything will come together.

    Everyone’s beautiful. I wish everyone felt beautiful.

    Thanks for posting this.

  10. I’ve always been drawn to her because of her quirkiness. I certainly think that the fashion & style blogs that I read have done a lot to continue to perpetuate the typical beauty standards. But I think that in the media & magazines we still have a long way to go. I think it’s because these fashion/style blogs are run by REAL woman. Real everyday woman.

  11. I’m very glad to see that someone reacts to the so-called girl magazines and their power in making girls feel bad about themselves.

  12. Thanks for posting this! I hadn’t run into this before. I really like were she’s coming in this. The concept of one “ideal” beauty is just really depressing and no fun at all. We’re all beautiful, the trick is just to realize it.

  13. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way! I truly believe that ‘Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder’ after all, we are all different with different personalities, likes and dislikes and what a wonderful world we live in – variety and blessings around every corner. Zooey is one of my fav’s.

  14. OMIGOSH!!! I had not read this! Geeze, I need to catch up on reader…I love that she wrote this too! I also love her LOVE Zoey! At 17 recognizing and saying this out loud is pretty darn awesome. Go Zoey!!

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  15. She is cute!

    And so are we all, right? We just have to look within ourselves, find it and the whole world will see it. You do a great job helping us on that journey. Thanks Alexis!

  16. and her sister is gorgeous too, she plays Bones, on “Bones”!
    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Tuesday – come back every Tuesday PLEASE!
    also thanks for linking up on my weekend link up too …
    always great to see you!

  17. I think she’s talented, fashionable and utterly gorgeous! I read that letter a little while ago and I absolutely love it. I feel like she’d be cool to hang out with, you know? :)

  18. I have such a ladycrush on Zoe – she is a timeless beauty!

  19. Wow what a cool letter! I think things have changed slightly but not by much!
    Live Life in Style

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