As children of the Internet (hi, everyone!) embrace a new world filled with eradicated beauty standards and feel-good, be-good vibes, I can't help but think about the teenage years I occupied pre-bodyposi, pre-Eff Your Beauty Standards, and pre-platforms-dedicated-to-finding-your-tribe. The generation of young women coming of age today is refusing to accept its limited representations in media. Things that I came to understand through epiphanies, and after such difficulty, are just basic assumptions for Generation Z, and that's an awesome thing. Take Lulu Bonfils, for instance. Artist, model, Instagram champ, and all around cool girl, she stomps around in sick combat boots all over pre-determined model rules. Don't let her age (she's 16) make you second guess her wisdom. She is poised. She is elegant. She is noticeable. This high school junior — through the power of 2016 you-do-you mantra — created a universe for herself that teen me wishes I could have been a part of.
Bonfils is a self-proclaimed introvert who is aware her Instagram feed comes off bigger than her actual energy. From an outsider's perspective, it's a haphazard curation of selfies, graphite drawings, panty pics, bloody fingers, and all the things she finds beautiful. Her art is wrapped in feminine energy and BDSM imagery — two subjects I did not find until my 20s. "You get exposed to a lot of stuff in this generation extremely fast," says Bonfils.
Is it okay I scroll through posts of someone 13 years my junior to garner inspiration for my own look? I believe so. High school me is dead and gone and buried somewhere along with all the body-negative beliefs I used to possess. Adult(ish) me is here and living among the women snapping and posting their every experience; making the badge-wearers of Gen Z feel less alone in the world — and we millennials wonder why we kept our LiveJournals a secret.
Bonfils can be seen in the new 6th & Lane collection from Lane Bryant and a new face of Wilhelmina International Inc.