This article contains spoilers for This Is Us. The story on This Is Us centers around one strong couple — Jack and Rebecca Pearson, played…
Earlier this year, Aerie expanded its #AerieReal Role Model program with an empowering campaign starring Yara Shahidi, Aly Raisman and Iskra Lawrence. Now, the brand ambassadors are back with another set of inspiring ads—this time starring alongside their own role models: their mothers.
The timely pre-Mother’s Day campaign was particularly special to Yara Shahidi, who starred alongside her mom Keri. Despite being just 18 years old, the actress has already built her career on inspiring and empowering young women—which fits perfectly into both elements of this project: Aerie’s brand ethos and working with her mother.
“Shooting the campaign with my mom was so much fun,” Shahidi told BAZAAR.com, “I mean, we started in this life together so I feel like it’s just second nature [to work with her]. I think it’s really powerful that Aerie is celebrating our bodies as they are. To be in anything with my mama is a great opportunity.”
Keri wears Aerie distressed sweater; Yara wears an Aerie one-piece swimsuit and denim shorts.
“My mother was my role model of success and helped me believe that all of my dreams are possible,” the teenager said. When asked what the most important thing her mom taught her, Shahidi didn’t even have to think twice before answering, “how to maneuver in spaces and realizing that I’m worthy of being in the space that I’m in.”
Not only was starring in Aerie’s Role Model campaign alongside her mom important, but being part of the brand’s ongoing mission to celebrate all bodies is also key to the Grown-ish star. Aerie famously went Photoshop-free in all its campaigns, ads and images back in 2014—a pledge it has stuck to and embraced ever since. When asked her thoughts on the growing number of women (celebrities included) who feel the need to Photoshop or Facetune their own photos on social media, Yara reminded us all why campaigns like this are so crucial:
“Without criticizing anything that anyone else is doing, I have to say speaking from the positive, it’s important that we have platforms which are saying more than ‘your own body is okay’ and don’t Photoshop it, but that your own body is absolute perfection just as it is. Because the need to tweak photos doesn’t just stem from one day waking up with that whimsical idea, but the fact that we’re overly critical of ourselves and other people are overly critical of each other so there is that impending pressure [to Photoshop]. So to have a major brand say that we’re going to normalize our bodies is important.”
Aerie jumpsuit, $37, SHOP
For the 18-year-old, her ongoing work as an Aerie Role Model means more than just another campaign, “I know the feeling I had when I saw my friend Salem [Mitchell], who was in one of Aerie’s campaigns, on a large billboard—just that feeling of joy. I hope that Aerie, as it grows as a brand with this campaign and with being more cognizant of the importance of inclusion in all areas, will have an impact on people like myself who are seeing these billboards and ads and seeing that our bodies are being normalized.”
She continued, “To be able to be in collaboration with brands that I truly stand behind is important because I feel like it speaks to the idea that fashion is inherently political and so is beauty. So to be able to do the best work that I possibly can in these areas to be a benefit to the world at large, in terms of expanding certain narratives, is important.”
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