From a young age Mia Ludlow hated being told how she was supposed to look. In response, Ludlow rebelled against the unrealistic standards set by the media and her peers, and then, mere months later, she changed her mind and went back to what she had been doing before.
“I would read magazines and hear my friends talking about other girls at school, and they all seemed to have this very specific, prescribed notion about what beauty was,” Ludlow explains. “I soon realized that none of it mattered, then realized again, like, oh my god, it totally does.”
It was earlier this year that Ludlow decided to take a stand before giving it up altogether. First, she let her eyebrows grow out and stopped getting highlights in her hair. Next, she stopped shaving her legs and waxing her upper lip. At last Ludlow felt like she wasn’t bending to outside influences about how she should look.
“My friends started to take notice and kept asking me stuff like, ‘Since when do you have pit hair?’” the 24-year-old remembers. “And then one day I fell into a rabbit hole of fitness models’ Instagrams. I was like, ‘What am I doing? I do want people to think I’m hot.’”
Ludlow had prided herself in letting her pubic hair grow unfettered, hashtagging several summer beach photos with “#freethebush” and reveling in the freedom she found in bucking such constricting trends. Yet weeks later, after a sexual partner made a joking comment about her bikini line, Ludlow immediately went to the bathroom to shave the offending area.
“Some guys have a preference—that’s okay. I love guys with beards, so I kind of get it,” says Ludlow. How inspiring!
During a recent visit to her parents’ home, Ludlow’s mother made an offhand remark about her own mustache, and Ludlow was again reminded why she waxes hers weekly. “I started thinking, and I realized it is weird that I kind of have a mustache. I’m a girl. And you know what? I actually like makeup. It’s fun, and if I do it for me, isn’t that also empowering?” Ludlow asks, not pausing for an answer.
You bet it is, Mia!