"The parts of ourselves we’ve been taught to hate should not just be pointed out, they should be rolled in (eco) glitter, covered in highlighter and shown the same adoration that 'traditionally' beautiful people are treated with every day."
This is exactly what Ione Gamble, the editor-in-chief of Polyester zine, together with beauty editor Mona Leanne and photographer Jender Anomie, do in their fifth anniversary issue "Beauty". It's one of four zines they are releasing to celebrate five years of encouraging us all, in their words, "to have faith in your own bad taste".
One of the best features in "Beauty"? There are too many to choose from, but Heavenly Bodies – where fat bodies are literally transformed into a canvas, one covered in angelic cherubim, another in celestial iconography – is certain to be a firm favourite.
Ione says that the original idea for the shoot was to transform the models themselves into full-scale cherubs. However, once the time and cost of this big-budget production became apparent, the team scaled down and came up with the idea of using the models' bodies as canvases, "[using the] body's rolls to distort and amplify the cherubs and to use skin and fat as the basis of something heavenly."
The focus on beauty, for Ione, is complicated: "Polyester's job as a zine is not to show you all the bits you’ve been taught to hate about yourself and command that you love them. I loathe the influx of 'real' imagery showing marginalised people with bare faces in beige underwear. Rather, I’ve always favoured exploring the radical possibilities of makeup to help us define who we are." This is exactly what they have done with the new issue – pushed the boundaries of how we think about beauty, the joy makeup can bring to our lives and the possibilities it holds when seeking to reframe the way we view ourselves.
Ahead, Ione gives us an advance look at Heavenly Bodies and reveals which body parts the team used to make their celestial pics.