For fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, having to work within such restrictive beauty parameters was no longer an option.
He decided to focus on a subject that he was far more passionate about - redefining beauty. In particular, photographing people with visible genetic conditions who have long been left in the shadows.
The photographer has worked on a new documentary called On Beauty, in collaboration with Kartemquin films, which focuses on challenging beauty norms.
At the moment, the fashion industry is taking baby steps towards broadening their beauty horizons and the popularity of models such as Winnie Harlow, who has vitiligo, and Jamie Brewer, who was the first model with Down's Syndrome to walk the New York Fashion Week catwalk, is proof of this.
However there's still a way to go.
One of Guidotti's subjects, Sarah Kanney, has a large port-wine stain on her face caused by Sturge-Weber syndrome.
"People stare," says Kanney. "Are we really so different and not like you that you have to stare?"
Jayne Waithera, who has albinism and also stars in the documentary, says: "We are not ghost-like, we are just human beings. I think it's high time we break some of these taboos."
Guidotti's decision to change his focus came after he first spotted a beautiful woman with albinism in the street.
He went home and researched visible medical conditions, but all he could find was "one type of image" - and they were neither positive nor empowering.
Guidotti hopes that the documentary will inspire people to see beyond the condition and encourage people to think outside the box when it comes to beauty standards.
"Often when I'm photographing someone with a difference, somebody will come and see the photographs and say, 'Oh, you're really capturing their inner beauty!'," says the photographer.
"I'm like, fuck inner beauty. These kids are gorgeous!"