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Elise Hu: The Beauty Ideal

About The Episode

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But it's also shaped by global norms. This hour, journalist Elise Hu reflects on what's considered beautiful now, and how we'll think about beauty in the future.

About Elise Hu

Elise Hu is host of the TED Talks Daily podcast. She is a former international correspondent for NPR and served as our first Seoul bureau-chief. Elise hosted the NPR video series Future You with Elise Hu which explored technologies of the future. She continues to serve as host-at-large for NPR and has recently dived into topics like fast fashion, meditation and habit formation for the NPR program Life Kit. Elise is also the co-founder of Reasonable Volume, a podcast production company. She is currently writing a book exploring beauty, consumerism and womanhood.

Featured Segments

Teagan and Keisha Simpson: Our Body Image and Social Media

Twin sisters Teagan and Keisha Simpson have grown up in the age of social media where photo editing and filters are the norm. They say the omnipresence of "perfect" photos can lead to a negative body image, anxiety, and depression — so they created a campaign encouraging people to "live life unfiltered."

Sasah Sarago: The (de)colonizing Of Beauty

Sasha Sarago is an Aboriginal Australian writer and model. She invites us to reflect on the colonization of beauty and reconsider the Eurocentric beauty ideals prevalent around the world.

Hari Nef : The Aesthetics of Survival

Trans model, actress, and writer Hari Nef explains how appearing femme is often a means of survival for many trans women. She counters second-wave feminist critiques of extremely feminine aesthetics and argues that presenting as femme does not make anyone a "bad feminist."

Paul Knoepfler: The Ethical Dilemma of Designer Babies

Genetically modified humans could be a reality in the next 10 years, estimates biologist Paul Knoepfler. He asks, what are the implications of using gene editing to alter our offspring, from their risk of disease to their height and eye color?

This episode of TED Radio Hour was produced by Sylvie Douglis, James Delahoussaye and Rachel Faulkner. It was edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour and Jeff Rogers.

Our production staff also includes Katie Monteleone, Diba Mohtasham Matthew Cloutier, and Fiona Geiran. Our intern is Harrison Vijay Tsui. Our audio engineer is Daniel Shukin.

You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHourand email us at [email protected].

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit

Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Rachel Faulkner White
Rachel Faulkner White is a producer and editor for TED Radio Hour.
Sylvie Douglis
James Delahoussaye
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Sanaz Meshkinpour
[Copyright 2024 NPR]