In January of 2014 Aerie shared the beginning of their “untouched photo” campaign featuring women in their most natural state. The images went viral and the comment section became an open door for anything and anyone. Cut to almost five years later and the power of positivity has been real for the brand. What once was simply an inspiring ad campaign has now transformed into a powerful movement to empower all women to love their real selves.
Women everywhere have come together to support each other and celebrate these images of authenticity and beauty. We passed the mic to five Aerie Role Models at the Vision Summit to get the biggest lessons they’ve learned about self love, the inside scoop on what it’s like to partner with Aerie, and their favorite affirmations to start their day.
Meet the Panelists
Brenna’s athletic career began with gymnastics, but after getting amputation surgery, Brenna got her first prosthetic leg and thanks to her mom, uprooted her life in Louisiana and moved to Salt Lake City to pursue snowboarding. She’s a 2018 Paralympian, Two-time Paralympic medalist, 3-time World Championship gold medalist and honestly the list goes on, but Brenna Huckaby says she’s “A person first. I’m not an athlete with a disability or a brand ambassador with a disability. I’m a person. I decided to stop letting my past dictate my future. I stopped holding on to the fear of “what happens if I get injured?” and I just went for it. Stop allowing people to label you in a sub category. That shouldn’t exist. I hope my work shows other people that they have the power to dictate how the world sees them.”
Iskra has been working with Aerie for 5 years with a front and center view while the brand grew from campaign to movement. She says, “Being a role model is wonderful but terrifying. Every single day I’m super aware. One thing I was told is that when you’re a role model, you have to diversify your feed and diversify your life. Diversifying your life will make you more round minded and open to other experiences. For me, being a role model is a constant discovery of trying to be the best you can be.” When her first untouched photo was published with the brand she was terrified. She hadn’t ever read negative comments about her body. After the campaign photo was published, the haters started rolling in. “I got so excited because I couldn’t believe the world had not seen images like that. I broke some societal norms about what a women should look like. If something scares you or you don’t see yourself represented, you have to step up and do that. Please stand up and do it. We need you.”
Monique is an American actress, dancer, singer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and recently launched her own talk show ‘GimmeMO’, a movement to empower and motivate the next generation, distributed on Discovery Life network. Before the show started, she spent years pitching it and being told that her story wasn’t important, that the timing wasn’t right, that people didn’t want content to help them feel better about themselves. So, she set out to produce it herself and she did it. We spoke about authenticity and working on projects you’re truly aligned with as a creative. “We need to be authentic and aligned with things that make us feel good. It’s all about alignment. Things we believe in and things that make us feel good may not be the most popular today but they WILL be the most long lasting.”
Jess Weiner is a CEO and Cultural Changemaker whose work has played a role in two culture shifting moments: Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty and Barbie’s new look introducing 4 new body types, 7 new skin tones, 22 hair styles and 24 eye colors. Safe to say Jess knows a thing or two about female empowerment. She reminded us that, “It’s so important to remember that we’re more powerful when we come together. We can’t underestimate the power of representation. I believe systemic change is possible, it’s a marathon not a sprint.” She spoke to us about the power of owning your social platforms and content creation strategy. When we talked about social media and the comparison game Jess chimed in and said, ”It’s easy to go to the lowest common denominator and compare yourself, but the REAL power is knowing that you don’t have to go through a gatekeeper. Everyone sitting here is the CEO of their own media platform. YOU have the power to publish your story.”
Stephanie Campbell knew that after college she wanted to work in marketing for a brand with a mission. As the social media manager for Aerie she’s doing just that. Stephanie talked about her experience working for the brand and how much she loves doing work that inspires and encourages women to celebrate themselves and honor their natural beauty. “I’ve always been an Aerie girl,” she says while speaking on why she loves the work she does. “We’re not telling our brand’s story, we’re telling the story of our customer to our customer. We’re inspiring and uplifting the women who shop with us. We ask “who are the women who make up Aerie?” And then we find inspiration from other women’s stories of life. We know that as women, we are stronger together.”
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself on a daily basis?
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- Stephanie Campbell
- Monique Coleman
- Jess Weiner
Do you have daily affirmations? Share some in the comments!