1. We grew up surrounded by the beauty standards of high fashion, so we wanted to re-create some of our favorite ads ourselves and see what it’s really like to be a model for the day. Check out the video of our experience:
Rocco: I felt awkward and sexy all at once. After seeing it, I was surprised to see my body looked better than I usually think it does. As a trans person, I almost never see myself reflected in mainstream media, especially advertisements. I am virtually invisible to the mainstream and when my life or my body are considered, it is usually in a negative light. All of this can lead to many layers of body dysphoria and dysmorphia. In the process of re-creating an underwear ad, I think I had to face and confront those layers of body hate. If we lived in a world that showed us all different types of bodies, I wonder how my expectations or desire for a “perfect” body would shift.
Candace: It was strange to live out my middle school dream: being that Abercrombie model everyone wanted to be so badly. It was so much fun, but definitely hot as hell in a fun and grossly sweaty way. It was nice to see my body type in an ad — the not skinny, but not plus-size body type. I loved it, and I loved getting to see so many everyday people show off what makes them beautiful.
Nick: I’ve been working hard on my body lately to conform to the standard of what is considered hot. Though I have a lot more work to do, it’s nice to see that damn, it ain’t so bad. It was also nice to experience modeling. Now I know that most of the ads I see are definitely majorly manipulated and not really what is going on. If you could have seen the work it took to get us in that position… THAT IS ALL.
Michelle: The makeup and hair made me feel beautiful and really confident, but I don’t like that it did. I want to be able to feel that way regardless of what I’m wearing. Also, the pose was actually pretty hard! I had to maintain this crazy backbend position in order to cheat the pose for the camera. I don’t know how Anna Nicole Smith made it look so effortless. It made me realize that truly anyone can look like a high-fashion model with enough makeup and photoshop, and I need to remember that when I compare myself to these models all the time. My dad is Indian and my mom is white. Growing up, kids would tell me that I was adopted. I really hate to admit this, but more than anything I wanted to be white to be more like my mom and the people I saw in magazines. I now feel so much more confident in my skin, and this experience has really allowed me to embrace my skin color.
Quinta: I felt a bit uncomfortable in the clothes. The dress wasn’t something I’d typically wear. I felt good about my hair that day until I saw it in that photo and didn’t think it matched the feel. I think that has a lot to do with ideal American beauty standards. Despite appreciating Chanel as a brand, and being a fan of Marilyn Monroe, I prefer my individual style over the one being sold in the ad.
12. Victoria’s Secret
Kelsey: The first five minutes of the shoot I was nervous as shit. I have a lot of scars, even a big one under my left boob, so modeling lingerie was something I’ve never imagined doing. Once I stopped caring if my tampon string was hanging out or if my hair looked cute enough, I really started to have fun with the other girls. I think that shows in the photo. Seeing our photo next to the Victoria’s Secret ad was eye-opening. Models project an entire lifestyle in one ad. It’s not always realistic and it shouldn’t be a standard we set to reach ourselves.
Daysha: My ass was just out. It’s interesting being basically naked with people walking around, but It’s kind of empowering as time goes on, because it’s just a body. At the end of the day, it’s just skin, and it was basically just like being in a bathing suit.
Sierra: I felt good. I think it’s going to look good. The cups were a little tight. I think it’s important that women of all sizes are represented, and I’m happy to be of service to show that girls over a size 2 can be sexy and beautiful. BUT I did feel like a bodybuilder with all that oil. It’s all about owning yourself, doing you, and loving your body for what it is.
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