Written By: Jillian Hopkins
Whether it’s a birthmark, cellulite, your skin tone, or a unique physical feature, Paige Billiot, creator of @flawless_affect, wants you to embrace your differences, love all of your perceived flaws, and empower other women to follow your lead.
Born with a birthmark covering a portion of the left side of her face, growing up, Paige was a victim of bullying and teasing. “I was bullied a lot[…] I remember thinking ‘why can’t I be normal? Why do I have to be different?’” Paige became sick of it. Being bombarded by the media with opinions on how to look, what was cool, what was sexy and what was not – Paige knew she had the intrinsic desire to change how society defined beauty.
Constantly moving, Paige was a frequent “new student” in school. One day, sick of the taunting by classmates, Paige walked to the front of the room, stood up straight and told the class that this was her birthmark and she was born with it; if they wanted to ask questions, they could. After that, Paige said the bullying went down tremendously simply because she put it all out on the table to her peers - “people lash out because it is the fear of the unknown," Paige explains. “The more they are around something and see something, the more it becomes normal.” As Paige was growing up, she did not have somewhere to turn to see others like her - “If I would have had that , it would have inspired me to accept myself at a younger age.”
Wanting to create a place to share, look, inspire and motivate; a place where it is okay to be different, Paige launched Flawless Affect, a community where differences are embraced and highlighted. “The foundation for Flawless Affect is from personal experience,” Paige says. She hopes to shed light on all different types of “flaws” through the work of artists, photographers and undeniable confidence that bursts from each piece of art of Flawless Affect.
How does Paige stay motivated and inspired through life’s unexpected turbulence? “I look at other people’s positivity and how proud they are of themselves - I look at my mom as my role model - I look at what motivates and inspires her to keep going.” Paige explains that her mom is her biggest supporter, always teaching her that being different is beautiful.
“You gotta know when to give a fuck,” Paige exclaims. “When you become fully happy, you really understand when to give a fuck. Give a fuck about yourself when it makes sense to you. If you know when to give a fuck, you don’t have to be fearful.”
If giving one piece of advice, Paige says that even though you may not be so confident and sure of yourself, but you portray yourself that way, people will see it as long as you believe it. She hopes to chip away at the beauty industry and media to show that every person should embrace their perceived flaws…afterall, flaws are what make you flawless.
To see more of Paige and her journey please follow her @flawless_affect