We live in a world where looks are often seen as a twisted currency. With so much fakery fueled by unrealistic standards on social media, it’s becoming hard to see real beauty. And unlike heavily staged and edited allure, natural appeal is always changing, transforming, enriching itself with experiences, ups and downs. In this sense, it’s more about the journey of feeling good in your skin than the actual result.

And what could better illustrate that than photos from real people who fought hard (or did nothing!) to love themselves fully and are proud about it. Thanks to the subreddit “Ugly Duckling,” which has people sharing how they turned into beautiful swans, we now have a bunch of people to cheer for.

After you’re done, be sure to check out more incredibly wholesome transformations in our previous posts here, here, and here. Just remember that glowing up differs for everyone, and that we are all beautiful in our own perfectly imperfect ways.

#1

Today I Weighed Myself And I've Lost A Total Of 221 Pounds. Sitting At 179. I Don't Have Any Friends So No One To Share It With So I'm Sharing It Here Lol. Have A Wonderful Night

Today I Weighed Myself And I've Lost A Total Of 221 Pounds. Sitting At 179. I Don't Have Any Friends So No One To Share It With So I'm Sharing It Here Lol. Have A Wonderful Night

CloudyOne420 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
3 months ago

Congratulations on the weight loss! You have a good night as well.

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#2

17 To 27 - How Did I Do?

17 To 27 - How Did I Do?

Lizard_Xing Report

Missy Moo Moo
Community Member
3 months ago

Hello handsome!

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#3

A Slightly Bigger Change Then Your Average Glow Up For Sure, But I'm Still Happy Where I Am Now

A Slightly Bigger Change Then Your Average Glow Up For Sure, But I'm Still Happy Where I Am Now

Maximellow Report

engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
3 months ago

Congratulations.

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Being an ugly duckling, which takes its name from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, refers to glowing up and developing into an attractive and successful person as opposed to what one has been before in their early days.

But even though it indeed shows how empowering blossoming can be, the message of being “an ugly duckling” also has some inherent flaws. Because it’s based on the idea that beauty is “malleable,” it focuses on the improvement of looks that can further escalate your self-worth and self-image. The idea of transforming one’s beauty has infiltrated our society with glossy magazine covers, advertising, and social media.

#4

15>18 - I'd Like To Thank My Mother, My Father And Whoever My Mother Had An Affair With 19 Years Ago Cuz I Did Not Get That Jawline From My Dad

15>18 - I'd Like To Thank My Mother, My Father And Whoever My Mother Had An Affair With 19 Years Ago Cuz I Did Not Get That Jawline From My Dad

Gottigottigotti22 Report

BingeFest1
Community Member
3 months ago

Funny description gets the upvote

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#5

22 vs. 27 Appearance May Have Change But Personality Has Always Stayed The Same

22 vs. 27 Appearance May Have Change But Personality Has Always Stayed The Same

Baklau Report

Susan Green
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Having a good personality is the most important thing overall. You do look great though.

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#6

13 To 26 I Still Do My Own Hair Cuts But I Think They’re A Little Better Now

13 To 26 I Still Do My Own Hair Cuts But I Think They’re A Little Better Now

tritrish Report

Missy Moo Moo
Community Member
3 months ago

The joys of learning how to handle crazy hair! Been there

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Melissa Burkley, a psychology professor and book author, writes on Psychology Today: “This message that less attractive girls can become beautiful is also commonly seen in movies (She’s All That and Never Been Kissed) and celebrity magazine interviews with the likes of Eva Longoria (Allure, 2006), Beyoncé (Glamour, 2009), and Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Harper’s Bazaar UK, 2011).”

#7

10 To 20! My Nickname Used To Be Called ‘Uglie’

10 To 20! My Nickname Used To Be Called ‘Uglie’

minjewe Report

ThatOneCrazyFanGirl
Community Member
3 months ago

I don't even recognize you! Looking beautiful!

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#8

13-24. Did I Age Backwards?

13-24. Did I Age Backwards?

ahug1597 Report

ThatOneCrazyFanGirl
Community Member
3 months ago

..I think you did.......

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#9

14-24. When Puberty Hits You Like A Train

14-24. When Puberty Hits You Like A Train

Air-Constant Report

Puppy Lover
Community Member
3 months ago

The facial expression on the left just makes me laugh

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According to Melissa, “The problem here is that in modern society, beauty is an overly idealized and largely unattainable goal for most women. With enough effort and persistence, nearly anyone can earn good grades in school. But no amount of effort or persistence can turn the typical woman into the photoshopped, unrealistically perfect beauty images they see every day in advertisements, movies, and magazines.”

#10

12 vs. 24

12 vs. 24

vikingum_kongen Report

Equine_Ravenclaw_Directioner
Community Member
3 months ago

Wow! But you were always good looking!

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#11

I Struggled With Bipolar Disorder II For The Longest Time. The Meds Made Me Gain So Much Weight But As Of February Last Year, I’ve Been Medication-Free, With The Blessings Of My Doctor

I Struggled With Bipolar Disorder II For The Longest Time. The Meds Made Me Gain So Much Weight But As Of February Last Year, I’ve Been Medication-Free, With The Blessings Of My Doctor

mozakiiii Report

J. Cole
Community Member
3 months ago

What a beautiful man!

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#12

13 To 25 - Life Is Weird Man

13 To 25 - Life Is Weird Man

Mawldee Report

ThatOneCrazyFanGirl
Community Member
3 months ago

Life is indeed weird

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Melissa and her colleagues conducted several studies to see how the idea that beauty is malleable affects people’s physical and mental well-being: “in one study, we had people read a story that either highlighted (1) how beauty is malleable and changes significantly over the lifespan, (2) how beauty is fixed and doesn’t change much over the lifespan, or (3) a neutral story that had nothing to do with beauty.”

#13

16 To 22 - My Boyfriend Filled Out A Little

16 To 22 - My Boyfriend Filled Out A Little

AriaLayton Report

Full of Giggles
Community Member
3 months ago

Daaaaayummm!

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#14

15 —> 30 Weight Loss, Better Eyebrows… Same Smirk Tho

15 —> 30 Weight Loss, Better Eyebrows… Same Smirk Tho

HonorReigns Report

Equine_Ravenclaw_Directioner
Community Member
3 months ago

Love that smirk ;)

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#15

Hi!! Me, 14 -> 21

Hi!! Me, 14 -> 21

Such_Ad_3122 Report

Friday
Community Member
3 months ago

You have such a beautiful smile!

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“We found that women who read the 'beauty is malleable' story later reported more anxiety about their appearance, were more likely to base their sense of self-worth on their appearance, and were more interested in getting plastic surgery than women who read the other two stories.” It turned out that the more people thought they can change the way they look, the more obsessed they became over their appearance up to a point that’s generally considered unhealthy.

#16

Our Styles Changed A Little

Our Styles Changed A Little

Raxen92 Report

good day
Community Member
3 months ago

Those photos look decades apart. Totally hot looks, guys.

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#17

Age 15 vs. Age 22. Thank Goodness For Puberty

Age 15 vs. Age 22. Thank Goodness For Puberty

macymadison Report

Equine_Ravenclaw_Directioner
Community Member
3 months ago

Why? You looked awesome before as well :)

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#18

[19 vs. 25] 85kgs Difference In Weight Between The Two Pictures. Who Knew I Had Some Decent Facial Features Underneath The Fat I Used To Carry. I'm Glad I Worked On Myself And My Physical Appearance

[19 vs. 25] 85kgs Difference In Weight Between The Two Pictures. Who Knew I Had Some Decent Facial Features Underneath The Fat I Used To Carry. I'm Glad I Worked On Myself And My Physical Appearance

throwaway94646 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
3 months ago

You have very decent facial features. Good job.

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#19

12 To 19 - I Do Not Miss The Bowl Cut

12 To 19 - I Do Not Miss The Bowl Cut

kzyang Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
3 months ago

A bowl cut never did anyone any favours.

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#20

Still Working On Myself, But Time And Hygiene Can Do Wonders! I Was Wearing Makeup In The First Pic, And Not The Second. [15/2012 - 24/2021]

Still Working On Myself, But Time And Hygiene Can Do Wonders! I Was Wearing Makeup In The First Pic, And Not The Second. [15/2012 - 24/2021]

lavendarpaint Report

ThatOneCrazyFanGirl
Community Member
3 months ago

i have the exact same sweater on right....btw looking good girl!

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#21

Being The Youngest As A Teenager (17) I Always Felt Like I Lived In My Older Siblings Shadows, I’m Proud Of The Hard Working Man I’ve Grown To Become Today. (25)

Being The Youngest As A Teenager (17) I Always Felt Like I Lived In My Older Siblings Shadows, I’m Proud Of The Hard Working Man I’ve Grown To Become Today. (25)

ScarletEverdeenHD Report

Elizabeth Walker
Community Member
3 months ago

And very good looking!

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#22

19-22 Less Plates More Weights

19-22 Less Plates More Weights

Molliwop_Dat Report

Equine_Ravenclaw_Directioner
Community Member
3 months ago

Wow! You look great!

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#23

15 (Lol) - 27

15 (Lol) - 27

laufree93 Report

m3_mys3lfand1
Community Member
3 months ago

Love the tattoo

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#24

12 > 18 I Was Bullied At School For My Looks, Cried Every Day And Begged World To Give Me Another Face. I Was Kinda Cute Tho

12 > 18 I Was Bullied At School For My Looks, Cried Every Day And Begged World To Give Me Another Face. I Was Kinda Cute Tho

tx13bucks Report

good day
Community Member
3 months ago

The world can be ugly, but you're always beautiful.

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#25

19-22, People Really Underestimate How Much The Gym Can Do For Your Face

19-22, People Really Underestimate How Much The Gym Can Do For Your Face

Greenface1998 Report

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
3 months ago

GOSH he is handsome as heck. Nice forearms too. I bet he gets a lot of attention.

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#26

19 vs. 30

19 vs. 30

MayaMustika Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
3 months ago

I think that she was pretty at 19. She probably developed better makeup techniques over the years.

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#27

16 vs. 20 Is This A Glow Up?

16 vs. 20 Is This A Glow Up?

Ninjamanatee20 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
3 months ago

Yes, this is a glow up. And, the right haircut can do wonders.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#28

19 To 22, People Will Make You Feel Unworthy But You Have So Much Potential. I Promise

19 To 22, People Will Make You Feel Unworthy But You Have So Much Potential. I Promise

oveanray Report

Verena Gitterle
Community Member
3 months ago

good smile

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#29

13 vs. 22

13 vs. 22

Knitcola Report

Elizabeth Walker
Community Member
3 months ago

Oh Lord give me strength 💪!

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Note: this post originally had 48 images. It’s been shortened to the top 29 images based on user votes.