Spot On! Why Asian Models Are Embracing Their Freckles

Poreless, porcelain skin has been the ruling beauty standard for decades in East Asia—as the proliferation of whitening products crammed onto shelves and lasers used to zap off moles will attest. What a pleasure it has been, then, to watch a new wave of top Asian models embracing their freckles and making the case for perfectly imperfect skin.

There’s Korean model Yoon Young Bae, who debuted on the Prada runway after grabbing the eye of casting director Ashley Brokaw with her full lips—and a cluster of moles on her right cheek. “When I was 3, they just appeared out of nowhere!” she says, laughing. “When I started modeling, I was told to get rid of them, but I said they make me happy, so why would I want to?” Smart move, given the way the doll-faced stunner stood out at shows like ChloéDior, and Loewe—following in the freckle-faced footsteps of Devon Aoki, who’s in the midst of her own career renaissance, having walked Moschino in June and appeared in the September issue of Vogue. Meanwhile, Bae’s fellow Koreans like Sora Choi and Min Jung Kim have allowed their own spots to shine through, layering a paper-thin sheen of BB cream over them and doing little else.

The trend has brought with it a greater appreciation for originality and a more expansive definition of beauty in Asia. For Jing Wen, who has fast become one of China’s top models, it is the feather dusting of freckles across her cheekbones that sets her apart from the likes of Fei Fei Sun and Liu Wen, allowing her to chart her own individualistic path toward countless runways and editorials. “When I was little, I really hated them because normally Asians don’t have them,” she says. “In high school, I always tried to cover them, but now it’s okay. I like them, and that’s enough.” There’s nothing more beautiful than that.



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