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Image / Beauty

Laura O’Grady: ‘When I started modelling, I felt I needed all the hair and the make-up artists’ help to be truly beautiful’


by Holly O'Neill
18th Nov 2019
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From the November issue of IMAGE, six Irish women reflect on what beauty means to them.


What is beauty today? For the last three years, photographer Lee Malone’s passion project has been to challenge perceptions of beauty by capturing women in their most natural, make-up-free state. In the November issue of IMAGE, he photographed six women who opened up to Holly O’Neill about what beauty means to them. Here, Laura O’Grady tells her story.

PORTRAITS BY LEE MALONE

Laura O’Grady, model

I think beauty comes from inner confidence and kindness. When I started modelling, I felt I needed all the hair and the make-up artists’ help to be truly beautiful. I felt uncomfortable being myself. Over time, I realised, as much as I love make-up and fashion, they shouldn’t be used as a mask – they should contribute to the enjoyment of life. It can be difficult to have a consistent sense of self if that identity relies on a lot of external adornments. Now, I feel most beautiful when I’m around the people that I love and that love me. Made-up or make-up- free, it doesn’t make much difference. Knowing that they see something in me worth loving means more than any superficial validation on social media or from any job could.

Lee Malone is hoping to publish his Perceptions of Beauty book of portraits next year with money raised going towards various women’s mental health and domestic abuse charities. @lee_malone_photography

This article originally appeared in the November issue of IMAGE Magazine.

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