These 'Unlikely Heroes' Prove Role Models Don't Have To Be Knights In Shining Armor


A hero doesn't have to wear a cape or ride a stallion. Whether they are a bold feminist fighting for her rights or a fisherman catching food for his family, the people who inspire us can come from so many different walks of life.

The Huffington Post teamed up with the photographer community at EyeEm to ask for shots of "Unlikely Heroes." We found true role models in all the submissions we received.

Check out some of the moving photos below.

Pierre Aden/Eyeem

One year ago, I was in Strasbourg for a weekend and while walking through the city I saw this old ballerina dancing in front of the Strasbourg Cathedral. Lots of people were laughing at her, thinking her performance was ridiculous, but I thought she was enjoying herself [and] not minding other people a bit. This “I don’t care attitude” was very impressive and showed lots of self-esteem. Photo by Pierre Aden/Eyeem.

Takaya wafa/Eyeem

This photo was taken in Tunisia. It shows a young feminist singing and yelling in our National Celebration of Womanhood despite initial obstacles and setbacks. The strike's goals were to publicize the feminist movement and ideas, and to expose the injustices experienced by women in Tunisia. ... This brave feminist is my hero. Photo by Takaya wafa/Eyeem.

Shamim Shorif Susom/Eyeem

The boy you can see in the photograph is a minor. He should be going to school to get an education. But, like many other children in Bangladesh, due to extreme poverty he has to work relentlessly in a fish market. ...He lost his father, he looks after his mother and younger sister. ... He is a survivor of the system. An unsung hero of the society. He is sacrificing his present to represent a better future for his family. Photo by Shamim Shorif Susom/Eyeem.

Ron Anthony Bautista/Eyeem

I was passing by this restaurant and looked inside and saw this boy with his grandfather sharing a meal. ...My grandfather took care of me when I was a kid and growing up I was always told that I looked exactly like him. In many ways me capturing my reflection alongside this boy and his grandfather was me reflecting on the relationship I shared with mine. To me an unlikely hero is someone who makes a positive impact in your life, believes in you and helps you through your struggles. Photo by Ron Anthony Bautista/Eyeem.


I took this photo while sitting in my truck, waiting for the stoplight to turn green. As I sat there, this man with a dirty rag, a squeegee and a bottle of soapy water, jumped up on my truck. He smiled and started cleaning my windshield. ...I have seen him before at this same stoplight cleaning windshields in the 100 degree weather. In my eyes he is an unlikely hero… He chooses to be there and deal with the ugly looks, the comments and the stares. He does it so he can provide for his family. Photo by Jasmina/Eyeem.

Shell Sheddy/Eyeem

Those brave enough to be themselves, and fight for their rights. Photo by Shell Sheddy/Eyeem.

Usman Ahmad/Eyeem

I decided to take [on] a project at a special needs institute ...close to where I live in Pakistan. ...The kids were amazing, and their strength of character had a profound affect on me. ...The child in the photo was using the handlebars to help him walk and achieve balance and mobility. In a society where there are so many stigmas, misunderstanding, a lack of public facilities and government support, the everyday lives of these children are so difficult that it’s incredibly inspiring when you see them rise above it and meet the challenges that lie in their way head on. What could be more heroic than that? Photo by Usman Ahmad/Eyeem.

Nikunj Rathod/Eyeem

To me this photo means true freedom. ... Everyone has a feeling of heroism hidden inside them which they want to bring out one day by doing something marvelous. The kid in this photo was busy showing his friends how well he can dive by performing diverse stunts although they might never have expected such a fearless and heroic stunt [from him]. Photo by Nikunj Rathod/Eyeem.

I was only 17 when I found Husk and was living by myself prior to my parents' abandonment. I was also going through major depression. So I guess you could say Husk helped me more than I could help myself. Photo by Kennedy/Eyeem.

Shamim Shorif Susom/Eyeem

I took this shot in Kuakata, Bangladesh. The shot was taken at the very early morning. The man is there as early as dawn, struggling to capture fish to feed his family. ...I consider him as a hero. Photo by Shamim Shorif Susom/Eyeem.


We have many heroes in our minds -- Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, etc -- but we never touch them even though they fulfill some our imaginations about heroes. We can touch and feel safe on dad's shoulder. Dad is a hero who is real. ...We can feel safe, happy and touchable on dad's shoulder [with] no fear. Photo by Hommali/Eyeem

Ita Bravo/Eyeem

This is my sister Josefa. She has Down syndrome. Shortly after she was born, she was hospitalized for a fatal respiratory disease. After leaving, we were informed that she had a life expectancy of three years. In the following years she was constantly in hospitals and private clinics, but her vitality and joy never ceased. She is a happy little angel, our life. She is a person who floods us with her joy every day. Photo by Ita Bravo/Eyeem.

Cruz Shirtz/Eyeem

Rory was my hero because she was never afraid to venture out into the world and explore, even when danger was all around her. Photo by Cruz Shirtz/Eyeem.

Tom Lund/Eyeem

For me, he is an unlikely hero because he dares to stand out in the masses. I was photographing at the Slottsfjell Festival in Norway and had noticed him the day before when I was walking around on the area. In a crowd dominated by ... the same trends and fashion, he was different. He was my hero this afternoon. Photo by Tom Lund/Eyeem.

Simon Gruenenwald/Eyeem

My boy went bravely through surgery and was my hero in that moment. Photo by Simon Gruenenwald/Eyeem.

Cesar Deutschmann/Eyeem

This hero left his country to support the family back home. Photo by Cesar Deutschmann/Eyeem.

Dina Alfasi/Eyeem

In the photo you can see my husband and my son -- father and child. My husband ... succeeds, in spite of the hard work each week, to devote his time to his own son. ...My son, Guy, manages to get us to leave the routine and enjoy the magical moments together. Thanks to him we appreciate these humble and special moments. Photo by Dina Alfasi/Eyeem.


This shot represents who my heroes have become -- my two boys. Kaden and Cash (my son featured in this photo) inspire me daily to enjoy the life that God has given us, to smile as big as possible and to explore every nook and cranny of this amazing planet. ... Taking my boys on adventures has opened a whole new world to me, one that is more enjoyable and inspiring than anything else I've known before. This photo is a direct result of being inspired by my boys to put the "adults things" on hold, and to go exploring instead. Relationships are what matter, and my heroes remind me of that every day. Photo by Eygabroad/Eyeem

Daryl Salazar/Eyeem

What you see in the picture is how Filipinos help one another -- commonly called as "Bayanihan." The Bayanihan (pronounced as buy-uh-nee-hun) is a Filipino custom derived from a Filipino word “bayan”, which means nation, town or community. The term bayanihan itself literally means "being in a bayan”, which refers to the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a particular goal. Photo by Daryl Salazar/Eyeem.

Takaya wafa/Eyeem

This photo shows a young lady wearing a pink jacket ... protesting in the crowd against violence to women and girls. Those attending the event were encouraged to wear pink, and hundreds of men joined as well! Discriminatory laws against women persist in every corner of the globe and new discriminatory laws are enacted. ...This great lady, [and] many others, are combating injustice and discrimination against women....SHE IS My Hero! Photo by Takaya wafa/Eyeem.

Daniel Anhutl/Eyeem

Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer. (Louise Glück) - These two wonderful and sweet girls are my unlikely heroes. I'm so proud and happy that I have the pleasure to accompany them while they grow up and conquer the world. It's so amazing to see the world through their eyes. And yes, the older one is the watcher and the younger one is the dancer, a really wild dancer. And as a team of superheros with their combined superpowers they are mostly unbeatable. Photo by Daniel Anhutl/Eyeem.

Lynette Wong/Eyeem

My boy just started swimming lessons three weeks ago. This shot was taken on his first day of class. He was quite unhappy to be in the water with strangers. He was crying ... His swimming teacher did such an amazing job. They communicated well with him and did their best to make him feel comfortable as he can in the water. His swimming teacher is an unlikely of hero because ... he helped my son to trust in him; he will not let him fall and helped my boy's confidence that he can do it. Photo by Lynette Wong/Eyeem.

Tu Tran/Eyeem

The two girls in mermaid costumes, without any tools or supplies, dove deeply on their own in a 4 meter pool to perform some difficult moves in the water. They ... impressed the viewers so much on their diving skills. Photo by Tu Tran/Eyeem.

Glenn Homann/Eyeem

On a recent visit to the city, I had the urge to utilize the light and capture some of the "style" of the inner city folk. I took many photos, but this image was my favorite. The subject exhibited a strength of character and style that trumped all the other "cool cats", like the one juxtaposed in the background. He became my unlikely hero for the day. Photo by Glenn Homann/Eyeem.

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