Buena Vista, Colorado
Recently assigned by Barcroft Media, I drove south to the small mountain town of Buena Vista, Colorado to link up with Hailey Wait, a local teen who is using her social media influence to showcase an often misunderstood truth in beauty: You don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
Wait is dealing with cystic acne – a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged underneath the skin leaving behind painful bumps. The 17-year-old decided she didn’t need to say sorry for how she looked and wanted to fight back by helping other young people struggling with their skin by posting pictures barefaced.
"Acne doesn't make you ugly," said Wait between managing her Instagram account of near 100K followers. As if on an endless scroll, she replies to comments and keeps the mood light while inspiring others. She knows how dark social can fade but she yields her feed as a blunt instrument and agent of change, using photography and her artwork as a power source. She understands how hard it is, to show your true self online, but for her, it's more about helping others deal with the physical and emotional pain of acne.
“Some days I kind of feel like a garbage can, if garbage cans had faces,” Wait recalls during the interview followed by a lingering pause of teenage self-doubt. But yet she persists with the drive of a young woman on the cusp of building bridges over a cultural divide of misplaced markers of beauty.
Good luck Hailey!