4 inspiring people that changed society for the better
SK -IN stands for inclusivity.
We openly celebrate those who actively shape the way society acts, thinks and behaves and who embrace diversity and authenticity - such as these four shining examples.
1. Katie Piper: proving that appearance isn’t everything
In 2008, aspiring model Katie Piper was the victim of an acid attack planned by her then boyfriend. It severely burned her face and body and left her partially blinded. She has undergone over 250 operations to date.
A year after the attack, Katie set up a charity, the Katie Piper Foundation, to help victims with burns and traumatic scars throughout the UK and create a specialist rehabilitation experience. The vision is ‘to create a world where scars do not limit a person's function, social inclusion or sense of wellbeing.’
An active campaigner and speaker on TV, Katie openly discusses her own battles with anxiety and how she overcame the challenges she faced. She says, “People were cruel. They judged me on my appearance, which made me feel like less of a person.”
Before the acid attack, beauty to her was about ‘looking the prettiest when I walked into a room’. Her views are now radically different, “Now I’ve realised that is only surface beauty. I feel more beautiful and confident by surrounding myself with people that believe in me and encourage me. Now when I feel down, I tell myself I have loads going for me and I feel attractive.”
Discover more about the Katie Piper Foundation.
2. Isis King: being who you really are
Isis was the first transgender contestant to appear on ‘America’s Next Top Model’. Her transition and interviews candidly highlighted transgender issues and misconceptions of the trans community.
Isis began hormone replacement therapy in 2007, but her family didn’t support her transition into a female. Some parts of her transformation process were shown during the show’s screening and genital reassignment surgery was carried out two years later.
As one of the most well-known transgender women in the fashion industry, Isis regularly sheds light on the many cruel realities faced by her community, such as how trans women of colour have the highest rates of homelessness, suicide and murder in the USA – which can lead to sex work, incarceration and poverty.
Isis firmly maintains, “The more young trans people we get off the streets and give proper education and housing to, the more leaders and creative spirits we’re going to have.”
3. Malala Yousafzai: standing up for what you believe in
Born in Pakistan in 1997, Malala defied the Taliban by demanding that girls be allowed to receive an education. Her activism resulted in a nomination for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2011 and she was also awarded Pakistan's National Youth Peace Prize.
In October 2012, on her way back from school, a masked gunman boarded the school bus and shot Malala in the head. She was flown to a hospital in Birmingham to undergo multiple surgeries. She later said, “The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”
Malala and her father founded the Malala Fund in 2013 to champion every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. More than 130 million girls are out of school, and so the fund works in regions where most girls miss out such as Afghanistan, Brazil, and India.
Malala’s first book, I Am Malala, became an international bestseller and she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Now studying PPE at Oxford, Malala travels all over the world to meet girls fighting poverty, wars, child marriage and gender discrimination to go to school. Her aim is that “Together, we can create a world where all girls can learn and lead.”
Discover more about the Malala Fund
4. Rick Guidotti: changing how beauty is perceived
Rick Guidotti used to take photos of beautiful models for brands such as Yves St Laurent and Revlon until, one day, he saw a young girl at a bus stop with albinism and was taken back by how stunning she was.
He searched medical textbooks for more photos of people with albinism, but could only find images of youngsters standing up against a wall with black bars over their eyes which he felt were upsetting and dehumanising saying, “These children with a difference were seen as a disease, not as people.”
Rick stopped working in the fashion industry and instead photographed youngsters with genetic and developmental conditions so that others could see them as their parents and friends saw them – valuable, positive and beautiful. “As a fashion photographer, I was always told what was beautiful, but I saw beauty everywhere,” he says.
Rick set up a not-for-profit organisation, Positive Exposure, aiming to transform perceptions, celebrate the beauty of human diversity and promote a more compassionate world. His photographs ‘give people permission to see beauty and interpret beauty in their own right. Not to see beauty that is dictated by the industry’s ideas of what is acceptable’.
Discover more about Positive Exposure.
Find out how SK -IN is also helping to make a difference through donating 5% of all profits to the mental health charity Heads Together.