Scientists note People magazine’s ‘Most Beautiful List’ now features older and more diverse stars than in the 90s.
Here’s evidence that society’s standard of beauty is finally growing up.
Researchers from Boston University compared People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful List” from 2017 with its inaugural 1990 rankings – and the good news is, this year’s winners, including Julia Roberts, Viola Davis and Selena Gomez, are older and more diverse than the younger, mostly white hotties of the 90s.
The scientists referred to People’s annual list as a marker for American beauty standards because its 43.5 million readers make it the largest U.S. magazine by audience. So they compared the 50 stars from the 1990 hot list with the 135 celebs from this year’s rankings, focusing on age, sex, race, skin type, hair or eye color, and other visible dermatologic conditions.
And they found that the average age of the most beautiful celebrities rose from 33.2 in 1990 to 38.9 in 2017, and the proportion of nonwhite winners also increased from 24% in 1990 to 40% in 2017. There was only one mixed-race celebrity in 1990, compared with 14 in 2017.
“As evidenced by our data and contrary to our hypothesis, at present, a wider variety of skin colors and inclusion of older age groups are represented among those deemed to be the most beautiful,” the researchers, led by ed by Dr. Mayra Maymone, a dermatology research assistant at Boston University School of Medicine, wrote in their report.
This is what a ‘beautiful’ person looks like today – and she’s very different from 27 years ago https://t.co/UER61zlDEc
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 12, 2017
“The mass media platform has for years introduced certain criteria for what constitutes beauty,” the authors added. “Through an examination of the [World’s Most Beautiful] issue of People, we found that these beauty standards are evolving as people learn how to integrate the effects of media with exposure to new cultures and different norms.”
But the researchers also noted that despite these gains in diversity, only four women of color – Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé and Lupita Nyong’o — have received the title of “World’s Most Beautiful” in the 27 years since 1990. Meanwhile, “Pretty Woman” Roberts has taken the title five times.
Still, brands are getting the message and creating fashion lines and beauty products tailored to an array of body shapes, skin colors and hair textures to satisfy customers of all ages and appearances.
Christian Louboutin recently released two high heel sandals in the seven different skin tones of its Nudes collection, and Target also began selling four new shades, from cocoa to caramel and mochaccino, for its skin-colored intimates. And Rihanna’s new Fenty makeup line at Sephora features 40 different shades of foundation and 10 highlighters to match all skin types.
And there’s money to be made in being inclusive: MAC cosmetics sold $1.17 billion worth of color cosmetics in the U.S. in 2015, up almost 20% from 2013.
© 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved