What makes a person beautiful? The answer often depends on where you’re at. One of the most wonderful aspects of the wild diversity of culture we humans share on this planet is our incredibly diverse standards of beauty. From nation to nation, coast to coast, we humans tend to hold extremely different values when it comes to attraction, even beyond our distinctively different styles of dress.
That being said, we think that a case can be made for universally appreciable beauty. We believe that, with a little cultural understanding and an open mind, anyone can stand in awe of the apex of human visual appeal from any corner of the globe. To make our case, we present the images below, sharing scores of gorgeous women from dozens of countries across the Earth.
These images were taken by Mihaela Noroc, who traveled the world for a project called “The Atlas of Beauty,” a collection of portraits of women proving that beauty is indeed everywhere, even beyond the eye of the beholder. “It’s not a matter of cosmetics, money, race, or social status,” she says, “but more about being yourself. Global trends make us look and behave the same, but we are all beautiful because we are different.”
1. Maramures, Romania
Bright colors spike the traditional dress of a woman in this European nation. Her face merely hints at a smile, but it’s enough. Romania is one of the most photographed countries visited for the Atlas of Beauty series, so we’ll be seeing more of it.
2. Shiraz, Iran
Iran is a surprisingly open country, despite what many Westerners believe. Women, of course, are not forced to cover up with conservative religious wardrobe, as this beauty proves. We encourage anyone reading this to look more into the great history and current status of Iran.
3. Tibetan Plateau, China
While regular old China gets most of the news today, and might want us all to ignore Tibet, the disputed region where the Dalai Lama has been exiled from for years, it’s a fascinating country with wildly different cultural norms and genetic makeup from its motherland.
4. Omo Valley, Ethiopia
This young woman sports a hairdo and coloring that might seem strange to Americans, but her smile gives away the timeless beauty in her appearance. We love the colorful necklaces she’s sporting! The style of dress and hair may seem exotic to Westerners, but it’s a perfect example of beauty in Ethiopia.
5. Baltic Sea, Finland
Standing on the deck of a large ship, this stark blonde beauty proves the attractive stereotype about Scandinavian women as spot on. Tall, blonde, and beautiful, she makes us wish we could visit the famed peninsula post-haste.
6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil is the largest and one of the most diverse countries in South America, with an ethnic mixture as varied as the United States’. From more traditionally Latin looking folks, to people who would easily be mistaken for European ethnicity, to those with African heritage, the melting pot is diverse and beautiful. This dark haired woman appears in a simple dress, sitting below her country’s flag.
7. Yangon, Myanmar
Myanmar, also known as Burma to the outside world, may be occasionally ruled by a military junta, but its people are as vibrant and full of life and beauty as anywhere else on earth. The photographer emphasized how much of a peaceful calm the people here exuded, pictured here in a Buddhist temple.
8. Colca Valley, Peru
Traditional Peruvian dress is known for its bold colors and intricate patterns, and this beautiful young woman shows them off perfectly. The country spans a vast range of culture, from indigenous peoples with little contact with the outside world, to those on the bleeding edge of current fashion.
9. Amazon Rainforest
This photo shows a Kichwa woman, part of an indigenous people with traditions and styles of dress that couldn’t be further from our Western world. Along with striking facial makeup, she is wearing her traditionally styled wedding dress for the photographer.
10. El Paico, Chile
This gorgeous Chilean woman stares with her dark eyes, wearing a thick hand woven shawl. The country spans a huge range of longitude, including almost every climate known to man, from tropical to mountainous, necessitating a variety of clothing styles.
11. Riga, Latvia
If we didn’t know any better, this Latvian woman could appear virtually anywhere in the United States, but her culture and language couldn’t be more different. The dress, however, seems relatively universal. This woman’s name is Agate.
12. Nasir al-Mulk, Iran
This incredibly stunning photograph showcases not only a beautiful Iranian woman, but the fascinating galaxy of colors spilling into the world famous Nasir al-Mulk mosque. Even in a traditional dress, she appears absolutely radiant, aided by the rainbows spilling through stained glass windows.
Supposedly found cleaning in a hotel, this Ethiopian woman sports subtle neck tattoos and a look of divine confidence. We would too, if we were this stunning. With up-close images like this, primarily focused on the face, the clothing and customs lose importance.
14. Little India, Singapore
Despite being a small island nation, Singapore is home to a wide diversity of ethnic lineages and cultural pockets. This woman displays a more traditionally Indian style of dress, including the jewelry.
15. New York, USA
New York might be one of a handful of cities considered truly international, and the makeup of its citizens plays this out. Here we have a woman looking positively intercontinental; she appears to be from virtually anywhere. Of course, that makes her even more of a New Yorker!
16. Havana, Cuba
Cuba, the United States’ island neighbor to the south, enjoys a lot of refurbished vintage culture from the larger nation, including its bevy of classic cars, still running regularly down the humid streets. The clothing, however, is far more colorful and playful than traditional American dress, as this short haired beauty shows.
17. Oxford, UK
The UK is known for its generous population of beautiful redheads, contributing this particular wealth to the world at large. Whether they’re from Ireland, Scotland, or England, redheads have a particular attraction that’s impossible to deny for much of the world.
18. Chang Mai, Thailand
Thailand is known in equal measure for its stunning beaches and beautiful women. Perhaps disproportionately, the country is especially known for the women. We would wonder why, but with images like this, it’s understandable. In a vintage hotel room, a simple white dress is all she needs to make us transfixed.
19. Tibetan Plateau, China
Returning to Tibet, we see another example of the unique beauty of the people in this land. Highly distinct from mainland China’s population, the people of Tibet also have their own singular style of dress as well. Fairing perfectly for the mountainous climate, the clothing of Tibetan women is known for its striking coloring.
20. Bogota, Colombia
Colombia is known around the globe as a very free spirited country, and this picture plays directly into that whimsical image. The woman seems playful and adventurous, and absolutely stunning, riding a blue unicycle with such an array of elegantly wild clothing, including spots, collages, and purple sneakers.
21. Havana, Cuba
We return to Cuba and the hot streets of Havana, where women sport bright colors and floral patterns, and the cars are all bold primary colors. Havana is known for its particular boldness, standing out hot and strong amongst its geographical neighborhood.
22. Medellin, Colombia
The easiest way to appreciate true beauty is an up-close look, directly into the eyes. If this picture were the only one in the collection, we’d imagine that Colombia has a monopoly on beauty; this woman’s face is simply that breathtaking. Thankfully, the rest of our gallery proves this thought wrong.
23. Mawlamyine, Myanmar
Seeing Myanmar again, we glimpse another side of the country’s people and fashion sense. With a simple plaid shirt that would look at home in the US or Canada, this woman appears striking, intriguing even, with white face paint and a beguiling smile.
24. San Francisco, USA
The UK doesn’t have a monopoly on gorgeous redheads. As we see, standing next to the famed San Francisco Bay on a typically Northern Californian overcast day, the United States can stand with the best of them.
25. Taskent, Uzbekistan
Standing proud before the intricately beautiful Soviet-era architecture seen throughout her country, this Uzbekistani woman wears a simple black turtleneck to startling effect. The former Soviet nation has long been known for its mosques and mausoleums, an artifact of its place on the ancient Silk Road.
26. Sydney, Australia
Australia is known for its incredibly unique set of wildlife, its world-famous coral reefs, and its adventurous, outdoors-oriented culture. So of course, we’ve got a woman wearing a fringed western-style jacket near the ocean, looking resplendent.
27. Otavalo, Ecuador
Latin America is home to some of the most unique and beguiling cultures on the planet. This Ecuadorian woman sports a traditional getup, sitting before a field in the far countryside. We absolutely adore seeing different sides of countries we thought we knew from afar.
28. San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Chile holds a wildly diverse heritage and people. This woman resting against a brick wall has such an intense look, we feel desperate to know her story. Once again, the intriguing beauty of Chile appears in a completely different guise, and we’re taken aback.
29. Tbilisi, Georgia
Zooming over to the far end of Eastern Europe, we come to a stunning Georgian woman with bright blue eyes and dark hair. While her country has been often in turmoil lately, between neighboring Russian and European influences, the people stand on a strong foundation of history and beauty.
30. Maori Marae, New Zealand
The Maori people are a proud native culture that have lived on the islands of New Zealand for thousands of years, and find their culture intermingling ever more with the western world as time goes on. With the boom in the New Zealand film industry due to Lord of the Rings’ effect, the world is going to see much more of these people.
31. Sumatra, Indonesia
Indonesia is another surprisingly diverse nation. This tattooed young woman sits on her stoop, surrounded by old concrete construction and her family’s shoes. With cross-cultural pollination in full global effect, her traditionally styled tattoos seem almost nostalgic and familiar.
32. Harlem, New York
We can’t emphasize enough how much of a diverse mosaic of life and culture New York City is. Beyond the intermixing of thousands of heritages, the city is also known for its cutting edge fashion. The women here often stand at the vanguard of modern looks, their clothing echoed across the country in the months and years to come.
33. Mancora, Peru
Here’s a completely new side of Peru for the gallery. A woman with long straight hair dressed in a modern sweater has, nonetheless, familiar colors on her clothing. We wouldn’t be surprised if you feel as caught off-guard as we were by this stunning look.
34. Java Sea, Indonesia
As we’ve emphasized, Indonesia is an incredibly diverse nation. From clothing to ethnicity, there is an astounding amount of beauty to be found. Taken on a seagoing ferry, this image showcases a breathtaking woman with bold fashion sense. At least one man in the background seems as intrigued as we feel.
35. Lima, Peru
Here’s an utterly modern image of Peru, the woman wearing clothing similar to that easily found at home in North America and elsewhere. While globalism has flattened out some aspects of our lives, it hasn’t touched the unique beauty of each nation’s residents.
36. Medellin, Colombia
Just as Colombia is known for its adventurous atmosphere and bold colors, we see a woman sporting incredibly unique and bold clothing. It may be a stereotype only known to those outside the country, but when it’s this knock-out beautiful, we don’t question it.
37. North of Romania
Romania is a popular destination for this art series, and for good reason. Piercing eyes draw us in to this image of a traditionally bedecked woman. Similar to her country-mate in the first photo of the series, she stairs directly into the camera, piercing the perceptual veil.
38. Istanbul, Turkey
This spirited woman is standing in a pride parade in the capital of Turkey, Istanbul. One of the oldest cities on earth is still a vibrant center of life and culture. The grins on the riot police officers’ faces tell the whole story: this is a good time.
39. Xiahe, China
This is a Han woman, in China. Many folks outside Asia may not know it, but China is home to an extremely diverse set of ethnic groups, of which the Han are the most populous. With a traditional dress, she might appear modest to Western eyes, but we find that exceptionally fascinating.
40. Shiraz, Iran
This Iranian woman sits before a traditional tile wall, covered in intricate, brightly colored patterns that define the nation’s aesthetic for many people. Her aquamarine blue dress and transparent wrap reinforce the importance of bright, bold colors.
41. Medellin, Colombia
Overlooking the vast city below, this contemplative Colombian woman highlights the free and active culture the nation is known for. Surrounding her are the touchstones of life in the country, with fantastic graffiti facing a sparkling blue sky over miles of hilly neighborhoods.
We hope you found some surprise, inspiration, and maybe even longing while checking out our gallery of beautiful women from across the globe. The world is an incredibly diverse place; this collection is merely a small drop in the ocean of beauty that can be found on Earth. Just like the oceans themselves, the rules of attraction are vast, fluid, and ever shifting.