This woman is taking super unflattering travel selfies to prove a point about beauty standards
One look at Instagram and you'll see how perfectly curated everyone's supposedly "candid" holiday snaps really are. Yes, you may look like you've accidentally been snapped loitering in a sun-drenched old-town street with your hair cascading gorgeously down your on-trend, non-crumpled and non-sweaty outfit – but we know the truth.
Because, first of all, you've probably spent the day trudging around with grime and sweat all over you as you tick off everything on your bucket list, but pictures of that are somehow magically absent from your feed now, aren't they?
One person who knows very well about how unrealistic beauty standards are nourished in scenarios like this is Michelle Liu. She, like most young women among us, loves travelling. But she noticed that nowadays, Instagram has fuelled a certain sentiment along the lines of "if you went on holiday and didn't upload a stunning picture of yourself laughing at an Aperol Spritz during sunset, did you really go?".
The college senior from Boston, Massachusetts, chose to rebel against this trend for "perfect pictures" by starting her own style of travel selfies, and it's just hilarious. Michelle started a trend known as "chinning", choosing not to conform to the usual angles and poses that flatter a person, but rather to hold the camera low and pull a dorky smile to showcase multiple chins and a form that from a distance closely resembles a thumb. All done with a selfie stick of course – as no dorky tourist pic would be complete without it.
She started taking "chinfies" in middle school, and continued through high school and college before starting an Instagram account in September 2016, aptly named Chinventures. Making fun of herself by taking unflattering photos was a way for Michelle to fight back against the beauty standards perpetuated on social media.
"I felt that I wouldn't be able to live up to those standards," she told BuzzFeed News. "As an alternative to traditional beauty, I started chinning to look silly in photos."
Her first uploads are from when she was studying abroad in Vienna, but the success of her account (as well as her desire to travel) has seen her take "chinning" around the world.
She's been everywhere from Paris...
... to Vienna.
She captured herself perfectly in this snap in China.
Michelle was chinning at Oktoberfest in Munich.
And added to the skyline in New York.
She perfected this caption in Copenhagen...
... though this one from Prague is pretty good too.
She's taken her chins to sunny Florida.
And across the country in San Francisco.
Here she is in London...
... and in Poland.
And she's even showed off her chins back in Boston.
"The thing I love most is that I didn't know I would inspire people," she told Insider about the popularity of her Instagram page. "I get messages and comments on my account about how much I inspire people and feel blessed. I never expected the popularity."
Thanks, Michelle, for your quality pictures and your hilarious way of breaking down beauty "ideals".