Jess Quinn's mission for truth behind perfect social media images

Losing her leg to cancer when she was a kid shaped Jess Quinn's life, forcing her on a journey of accepting adversity or finding ways around it. 

It has been the drive behind her to establishing a platform on social media to help others by promoting positive body-image as well as celebrating diversity and inclusivity.

Now the 26-year-old is fighting to introduce a law which would hold advertisers accountable for the truth behind perfection promoted on social media - a move which could redefine the perception of beauty and inspire new standard of acceptance.

In her teenage years, Quinn's battle with self-image was made harder by feeling substantially different to her peers and not fitting within the perceived idea of "normal" promoted across commercial images shared in advertising.

"I got in a really dark place and I couldn't see a way out of that because for me, I was just so focused on how I looked," Quinn told Newshub. 

It was a path destined to test her understanding of herself as, with billboards, magazines and TV so regularly painting a standard that she couldn't relate to at all.

"There was this one cookie-cutter mould of perfection that was being used and I didn't see myself amongst that at all," she said. 

"I fully struggled to accept what I had gone through. I just wanted anything but to have what I did."

Quinn discovered a sense of worth after it dawned on her one day that cancer had already taken so much from her.

"As much as it was an overnight decision, it was a long process to really be okay with that.

"I couldn't just keep living this miserable life and I was the only one that was going to be able to do anything about it."

Today, Quinn works full-time promoting positive body-image messages through her social media which went viral a few years ago.

She feels her struggle relates hugely to the pressures youths transitioning to adulthood today, navigating their own path amid scrolling through images creating a falsehood of reality, assisted by Photoshop, editing apps and a trend to highlight only the best.

Quinn lost her leg to cancer when she was 9 years old.
Quinn lost her leg to cancer when she was 9 years old. Photo credit: Jess Quinn

So when a magazine in 2018, published images of Quinn Photoshopped, she realised that, to make an impact, she was going to need to do more than advocate for difference, she must set a new standard.

She has launched a petition hoping to garner enough attention for a law to be introduced to hold advertisers and brands responsible for any changes made to a picture of a commercial model. She wants to see the changes outlined in an accompanying caption.

Quinn spoke about the idea in her TED Talk before deciding to bring it into play and reaching out to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who wrote back to her with some advice.

"She was really supportive of the idea, and I think she's someone who speaks out and wants to promote mental wellbeing and I think this is a huge part of that conversation as well.

"My goal is to get 100,000 signatures on the petition, the more people backing it the better.

"It's time to stop fooling the consumer."