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Photographer Captures What Happens The Moment People Are Told 'You're Beautiful'

Shea Glover's high school beauty project is going viral and is sure to have you ready to tell someone's they’re beautiful.

Life & Travel

When someone compliments you, how do you respond?


If you're shy, your blush game may take over and do all the talking. You may respond with a giggle, or bat your freshly done eyelashes. You may be feeling them so much that you say something kind back to them. Some people know they're fly, so they don't feel the need to respond.

As for me, I've never been one to respond well to compliments, but I'm getting better at receiving what someone says to me, even if I don't see or feel it for myself.

If social media hasn't taught us anything, it's that kind words and gestures go a long way, even if you feel awkward when you're met with a compliment. Fortunately for humanity, we have science on our side to prove that compliments are awesome.

A 2012 survey reported on Forbes.com conducted by Norihiro Sadato, a professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, found that

“...Receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation.”

Related: #BeyondBeauty: 11 Images That Celebrates Body Diversity & Self-Love Within Women

Imagine that? A simple compliment could make you feel like new money?

Well, Chicago student and artist, Shea Glover, set out on a social experiment to see how people - both people she knew, and strangers - would respond to her telling them that they're beautiful. She titled the project “People React To Being Called Beautiful," and uploaded the video to Vimeo. She says that the initial concept of a social experiment shifted and took on a whole new meaning when the former high school senior told her subjects they were beautiful and witnessed varied reactions.

One person was slightly surprised...

Another woman looked like her soul was touched.

Another woman was ready to throw some elbows.

And another woman was left speechless.

Shea clarified the intent of the video, so that people would understand that the intent of the project was less about the reaction, and more about their inner beauty.

“I want to clarify that my intentions were not to get a reaction out of people. I was simply filming beauty and this is the result.

On her YouTube page, the photographer said that the subjects were people that inspired her through their energy. In most of the responses, she realized many aren’t told they’re beautiful, with some shying away and unaware of how to respond, to one student becoming angry. The final product resulted in a range of emotions and introduced Glover to the unfortunate reality that many people don't hear or tell themselves they’re beautiful.

“It’s so interesting to see how men perceived it, how women perceived it, how a younger person perceived it versus older. Even if it was about appearance, if you can’t find 20 different people in a school that you find beautiful, maybe your idea of beauty is a bit skewed and maybe, it’s a little too small. Maybe you need to widen it, because I see hundreds of people all the time when I'm walking down the street when I'm happy and listening to music. I see that person and I wonder what kind of dreams she has or I wonder what his fears are. They’re beautiful. They’re interesting. It’s art, so it’s subjective.”

And Shea Glover captured just that. Watch her senior beauty project ,and go through all the feels, below. Don't forget to tell someone random they're beautiful–we promise it’ll make your day.

Take a look at more photos of the exact time the subjects in the video were told they were beautiful in the photo gallery.

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