For the most part, our standards of beauty are rigid and “undeniably Eurocentric,” as Mic thoughtfully points out. And it’s true: In many countries we just don’t see enough diverse women represented in media, in fashion, and in television, which innately skews our expectations for what a woman should look like in order to be attractive. It’s a major problem, and it’s been a problem for a long, long time. Well, A Romanian photographer named Mihaela Noroc decided she wanted to fix that problem. Or at the very least challenge the status quo and prove, once and for all, that women of all ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds are gorgeous (inside and out). So she traveled to 37 countries and organically photographed women “surrounded by their culture,” according to post she shared on Bored Panda. The results were astonishing.

Her project, which is called “The Atlas of Beauty” aims to destroy the notion that only one kind of woman, with one cultural background, can be beautiful. Noroc continued, “Global trends make us look and behave the same, but we are all beautiful because we are different. In the end, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder is always somebody else. My goal is to continue and take photos of women from each country of the globe, making ‘The Atlas Of Beauty’ a mirror of our diverse societies and an inspiration for people that try to remain authentic.”

The project is admittedly not perfect, since a woman’s looks should never reflect on her identity as a whole, nor should it represent her value. However, these efforts to celebrate diversity on an international scale, support authenticity and challenge the traditional notions of “beauty” are valuable and worth examining. Take a look at some of Noroc’s images:

Yangon, Myanmar

Riga, Latvia

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Havana, Cuba

Shiraz, Iran

New York, USA

Nasir al-Mulk, Iran

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Amazon Rainforest

Maramures, Romania

Oxford, UK

Tibetan Plateau, China

Bogota, Colombia


Colca Valley, Peru

Little India, Singapore

(Images by Mihaela Noroc via Bored Panda)