The creativity of author, designer, broadcaster Ben Arogundade

What Is Beauty?

IT REMAINS a question many cannot answer — is it inside, outside, or both? Here is a collection of quotes to help you make up your mind. By Ben Arogundade. Feb. 13, 2023.

Multi-ethnic models

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

CONFUCIUS, Philosopher

I don't see myself as beautiful, because I can see a lot of flaws. People have really odd opinions. They tell me I'm skinny, as if that's supposed to make me happy.

ANGELINA JOLIE, Actor & UN Ambassador, Rolling Stone, Aug, 1999.

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

KATE MOSS, Model, ‘Women's Wear Daily', Nov. 13, 2009.

I’m so against surgery. I can tell you today and I can tell you for sure I will never do anything to my face. Nothing. The age I am? That’s it.

EMMANUELLE ALT, Editor, Vogue Paris,’ Stella Magazine', Sept. 08, 2014.

So what if my face is falling apart? I don't give a damn. Anyway, it gives me character. Everyone thinks that they can stay pretty forever but some come out of Beverly Hills surgeries looking scary to me.

ROBERT REDFORD, Actor, 'US Magazine', Jan. 2002.

Beauty is worse than wine; it intoxicates both the holder and beholder.

ALDOUS HUXLEY, Writer, ’The Ultimate Book Of Quotations', 2012.

I don't understand why the press is so interested in speculating about my appearance, anyway. What does my face have to do with my music or my dancing?

MICHAEL JACKSON, Musician, 'Moonwalk', 1998.

I always thought I looked kind of like Keith Richards, and sometimes I think I look like Michael Jackson.

NATALIE MASSANET, Founder, Net-a-porter, 'Vanity Fair', Sept. 2012.

A particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror. As a rule, a beautiful woman is a terrible disappointment.

CARL JUNG, Psychologist, 'The Pittsburgh Post Gazette', Sept. 10 1961.

I’m not entirely comfortable with myself in underwear.

CHRISTY TURLINGTON, Model, ’Harper's Bazaar', May 2013.

Beauty in distress is much the most affecting beauty.

EDMUND BURKE, Politician & Author, 'On The Sublime & Beautiful', 1909.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.


Beauty is a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West is is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact.

NAOMI WOLF, Author, ’The Beauty Myth', 1990.

When abused children under court protection were studied in California and Massachusetts, it turned out that a disproportionate number of them were unattractive...abused kids had head and face proportions that made them look less infantile and cute.

NANCY ETCOFF, Author & Researcher, 'New York Times', March 21, 1999.

The three wishes of every man: to be healthy, to be rich by honest means, and to be beautiful.

PLATO, Philosopher, 'Facial Plastic & Recon. Surgery', 2009.

Younger women have no problem in reconciling beauty with ambitions as a professional woman.

CAMILLE PAGLIA, Academic & Author, 'The Independent', Aug. 25, 2012.

Taught from infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT, Writer, 'A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman', 1792.

Nothing has such a striking impact on a man's development as his appearance, and not so much his actual appearance as a conviction that it is either attractive or unattractive.

LEO TOLSTOY, Writer, 'Childhood, Boyhood, Youth', 1899.

A too-big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil.

MAYA ANGELOU, Writer, 'How The Caged Bird Sings', 2002.

Tall, ungainly…with big feet, flat-chested.

LAUREN BACALL, Actor, 'Time Magazine', Aug. 25, 2014.

If everyone were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty.

CHARLES DARWIN, Naturalist, 'Little Oxford Dictionary Of Quotations', 1994.

Beauty has long since disappeared. It has slipped beneath the surface of the noise, the noise of words, sunk deep as Atlantis. The only thing left of it is the word, whose meaning loses clarity from year to year.

MILAN KUNDERA, Writer, 'Survival Of The Prettiest', 1999.

The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying.

ANNA WINTOUR, Editor, American Vogue, 'Women's Wear Daily', Jan. 18, 2008.

I'm not traditionally a beauty, but apparently people think I'm alright.

KATE MOSS, Model, 'Women's Wear Daily', Nov. 13, 2009.

There are more and more taboos about calling something, anything, ugly.

SUSAN SONTAG, Writer, 'At The Same Time: Essays & Speeches', 2007.

I'm pretty as a girl.

MUHAMMAD ALI, Boxer, 1964 Press Conference For Fight Against Sonny Liston.

I was raised in the '50s. I was taught by my father that how I looked was all that mattered.

JANE FONDA, Actor, 'Harper's Bazaar', Aug. 2011.

I'm really critical of my posture...And I try to suck my belly in. Everyone should do that whether you're on a red carpet or not. Even if you're going out to dinner with your boyfriend you should try and suck it in.

KATY PERRY, Singer, Critics Choice Awards, 2009.

I realized that I actually like my body, even if it’s not perfect according to the book. I just feel sexy. For the first time, I don’t want to get rid of the curves. I just want to tone it up.

RIHANNA, Singer, 'Vogue', March, 2011.

That decision to use basically all white models reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society. It can no longer be accepted.

BETHANN HARDISON, Founder, Diversity Coalition, Open Letter to the CDFA, Oct. 2013.

People in my hometown seldom called me piao liang, [beautiful] because my smaller eyes were a far cry from the wide irises of the most beloved television actresses.

LIU WEN, Model, 'Vogue', Sept. 2014.

There is no definition of beauty, but when you can see someone’s spirit coming through, something unexplainable, that’s beautiful to me.

LIV TYLER, Actor, 'Glamour', Aug. 2014.

Some guys say beauty is only skin deep. But when you walk into a party, you don’t see somebody’s brain.

JAMES CAAN, Actor, 'Esquire', Sept. 2003

Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, Writer, 'The Brothers Karamazov', 1880.

What they [the Chinese] like is big eyes, small face, pale skin towards white and like a doll.

KATHY PHILLIPS, Founder, This Works Skincare, 'The Daily Telegraph', May 03, 2011.

When an Indian man looks for a bride, he wants one who is tall, fair and slim, and fairer people always get jobs first.

DR. JAMUNA PAI, Dermatologist, 'Time', Sept. 19, 2013.

Indians are very racist. It's deeply ingrained. But there is so much pressure by peer groups, magazines, billboards and TV adverts that perpetuate this idea that fair is the ideal.

NANDITA DAS, Actor, 'The Guardian', Aug. 14. 2013

If virtue no delighted beauty lack, Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Playwright, 'Othello', 1604.

I spent 30 minutes each morning rubbing my body with half a lemon to lighten my skin.

JOSEPHINE BAKER, Dancer, 'The Hungry Heart', 1993.

I look like a duck. It's the way my mouth curls up, or my nose tilts up. I should have played Howard the Duck.

MICHELLE PFEIFFER, Actor, 'People', 1990.

I tried Botox one time and was permanently surprised for a couple of months. It was not a cute look for me. My feeling is, I have three children who should know what emotion I'm feeling at the exact moment I'm feeling it.

JULIA ROBERTS, Actor, 'Vogue', Mar. 2012.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

JOHN KEATS, Poet, 'Ode On A Grecian Urn', 1819.

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