Meghan Markle made sure freckles weren't airbrushed out of her guest-edited Vogue cover
Wikipedia / Vogue U.K.

Beauty magazines are notorious for removing perceived "imperfections" from their photos of women, but these perceived flaws are what make each individual beautiful and unique. So when Meghan Markle became the first-ever guest editor during British Vogue's 103-year history, she had one specific request for the cover image: leave the freckles.

The cover photo of British Vogue's "Forces for Change" issue features 15 strong women who come"from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness." Women such as Adwoa Aboah, Jane Fonda, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Jameela Jamil, Laverne Cox, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Selma Hayek are all on the cover. So are their freckles and beauty marks.


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Photographer Peter Lindbergh was told to highlight the natural beauty of the women and skip out on the airbrushing magazines are notorious for."My instructions from the Duchess were clear: 'I want to see freckles!'" Lindbergh told the New York Daily News. "Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles."

Markle is proud of her own freckles, saying she hates it when they're removed either through photoshop or foundation. The removal of her freckles is a form of colorism. In 2017, Markle told Allure she remembers "feeling too light in the black community, too mixed in the white community," and as a biracial actress, was labeled "ethnically ambiguous" during castings. "To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot," she said. "For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: 'A face without freckles is a night without stars.'"

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Makeup artists who have worked with Markle say the Duchess requests less makeup so that her freckles stay visible. "Every time I'd do her makeup, she'd say, 'Can we just make sure my freckles are peeking through? I don't want a ton of foundation,'" makeup artist Lydia F. Sellerstold Refinery29. "It was more about the amount of product that went on her skin and keeping it really fresh and dewy, rather than caking it on."

Fashion magazines shouldn't dictate which spots on your face are right or wrong. The fact that Markle embraces her freckles (and those of other women) sets the right example and can help other women embrace theirs.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.