高级脸 (gāo jí liǎn) or “fancy face” references the evolving standard of beauty in China. Trending big time, the hashtag has garnered 89 million views in August alone.

You see, a more traditional view of beauty in China is frequently perceived to look like this:

Tien-Hsi, Fanny Ruru and AngelaBaby

So what’s the traditional formula for Asian beauty?

Milky, white skin + large, round eyes with double eyelid + a small face that comes to a delicate, pointy chin.

Yet, this combination can hint at or lead to extreme cosmetic work and heavily doctored photos.

Tina Leopard and Cammy Chong

(To see what’s possible with makeup and putty, check these out).

So, among Gen Z’ers, the new “fancy face” is now swinging in a different direction. It celebrates a more natural beauty: angular jaw, wide-set eyes and fuller lips.

Liu Wen and Du Juan

All this brings me back to when I did some commercial modeling. All those years ago, I was often advised to get a nose job. And while I knew my advisors were trying to be helpful, I chose not to replace my little nose with something seen as more traditionally beautiful. 

Me in 1996

At the risk of sounding cliché, I felt better loving my own look. I couldn’t see myself conforming to someone else’s definition of beauty and still retaining this level of comfort in my own skin. 

Over time as standards of beauty have evolved, I’d like to think that we’re also step-changing the way we are able to appreciate one another. Embracing a more inclusive definition of beauty.

Then going deeper, let’s become more inclusive of who we are on the inside, too. Appreciating different ways of thinking, engaging and problem-solving… and knowing that we’re better as a unit because of those individual differences. 

#workplacechinese #diversityandinclusion #belonging